in General

The Challenge of Plotting

I’m working on the planning stages of a writing project I hope to launch on June 1st with the third year (and redesign) of my website. I’m still leaving it named as a “writing project” because I’m unsure whether it will be a collection of short stories tied in theme and characters or rather a novel. With the serial installments, the former may be the most feasible and flexible, but I’m still not sold on either path.
I have just two weeks to finish the outline and other preliminary work, as well as meet other goals I have set for the beginning of the month, so I’m feeling a bit boxed in about it all. The structure of set plans has been helpful, though, and I’m feeling very positive about what I’ll be creating.
Tonight I’ve been rereading Terry Brooks’ Sometimes the Magic Works, his memoir that focuses on the craft of writing. His passion and devotion to the art of writing is admirable and obvious in his work. This book distils that and offers it to the reader; I find his passion for writing to be contagious and relate deeply to his dedication.
It’s been interesting to compare his advice with that of other writers and his approach with the one I’m creating (experimenting with, really) for myself. Most authors seem to advise two universal keys to writing well: Read as much as you can and write as much as you can. These two are quite obvious, but the third key Mr. Brooks writes about is one I’ve resisted for some time; I’ve finally, reluctantly embraced an outline (organization) as vital to the process.
I’ve loved Brooks’ works since my first exposure to them; I remember borrowing The Sword of Shannara from my father’s respectable collection of sci fi and fantasy while still enchanted with my first journey through Tolkien’s Middle Earth and enjoying the similar but fresh take on high fantasy. His Word and Void series, along with Charles de Lint’s work (I mentioned I’d been reading books by de Lint when asked by Terry Brooks a couple years ago if I’d been reading any fantasy books lately.), has given me an appreciation for mythic fiction and the value of the symbolism of myth in the world we experience. This will be a core aspect of my project, so I’m thankful for both Mr. Brooks’ writing advice and the inspiration his books have provided.

This entry was written as part of my 43 Things goal to prepare a writing project. If you’d like to see more of my goals you can in my 43 Things profile.

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