By Cait Collins
While I admit to not being an in depth plotter, I do admire those who do spend time plotting out their story. I’ve known writers who know to the minute when the hero will propose to the heroine. They have detailed character sketches; know whether the hero will bring roses or gardenias. Will they vacation at the beach or in the mountains? Will the heroine wear Michael Kors or Levi’s?
Timelines stretch across one wall of the office. Sticky notes are moved from one point to the next. Every move, every word, every decision is meticulously planned. There is no deviation from the first word to “the end”. The story or novel is almost perfect from beginning to end. I do envy those writers. They know where they are going. They make it work.
On the other hand, I enjoy the times my characters throw a monkey wrench into the plan. So he doesn’t fall madly in love with the heroine. What’s wrong with them being best friends? That’s a rewrite. But it works for me.
The amount of research and planning that goes into writing a short story may change the amount of time and detail that goes into the preparation. Genre may also change the game plan. The point is each one of us must embrace the method that propels us forward in our writing adventures. It may mean we experiment from time to time. Or try to fly in a different direction to get the job done. The method is not as important as completing the work and being happy with the result.