There are two schools of thought and they are so diametrically opposed it doesn’t seem you can be a fan of one without hating the other.
But you can, can’t you?
I’m a fan of series–like most of American readers these days–and once I’ve gotten familiar with the writing style of an author, I can predict when certain things in the plot will occur. Sure, the antagonist might be a different gender, race and/or species but they all fill a familiar space. The same way the resolution seems to always happen around the same point and in a similar fashion.
This is plotting. It has to be. But it works.
Is plotting really such a bad thing? Is it just a romantic and antiquated reader/author who expects stories to plop down out of the ether and/or be spoon fed by some muse?
When I started writing the book I’m working on right now–It’s not done so don’t ask.–I started with an idea about a tiny white spider and went from there. The first several chapters were just me writing whatever came into my rather large, misshapen head. It wasn’t until I had gotten through the first seven thousand or so words that I went back and took a look at what I had done.
It wasn’t all bad but some of that crap needed to be scraped off and then promptly pressure washed. It’s called editing, people! In that early editing session, I identified where stuff wasn’t working and where new things needed to happen and how said things would happen and what repercussions would be wrought from the earlier actions.
But I wasn’t plotting, right? My muse was feeding me all those words. He was whispering them into my ear as he gave my shoulders a deep tissue massage. Right?
Maybe I was plotting? Maybe the editing process is a nicer way to package plotting?
I work best when I know where things are going so I’m in the I’m-just-going-to-plot-an-outline camp. I know some people are in the I’m-going-to-plot-every-damn-gasp camp while others here the word “plotting” and run away screaming whilst ripping hair from their scalps.
Is there a right way to write or is the right way whatever way gets you to write?