Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Blog Hop

This week's question is about an embarrassing secret muse.  I've been thinking and thinking and I honestly can't come up with anything. I suppose if I could, I'm not sure I'd admit.LOL After all no one wants to embarrass themselves. I'm just happy my muse speaks to me at all. Lately she's been kind of quiet. I'm not sure why.
I've been working on one story for several years now. It's the first one I outlined and plotted, and I'll never do it again. Talk about writer's block.
For me sitting down with an idea and knowing how the story begins and ends is enough, what happens in the middle is as much a surprise to me as it is to the reader. That's fine. It works for me. But I listened to a speaker at our local RWA group say if you never plotted to try it. Silly me did. Just because it worked for her and many other authors isn't a reason to encourage other authors to do it. She made us feel like we were writing wrong. I've since learned that whatever works for you is the right.
Unfortunately I took her  advice. What did I have to lose? Maybe it would work for me. It didn't take long to realize it wasn't going to work. My characters didn't appear to like what I had plotted for them. They refused to talk to me. I was blocked. I stayed blocked for a good year. Never wrote another word. I had written myself into a corner. Finally in an email to my writing friend, I discovered a way to pull out of it and the story went along for quite a while. But that darn plot was in the back of my mind and it wasn't long before I hit another block. This has happened several times since then and I've been fortunate to work my way through it. Right now I'm blocked again and have been for several months. Not that I quit writing all together. I work on other works. I have several that I want to rewrite and revise, so I'm not sitting idle, but that story really bothers me. I so want to finish it. I'm sure I will some day. So I guess my secret embarrassing muse is that I listened to someone try to change the way I write.  If you're a plotter, great, don't listen to anyone tell you to try writing by the seat of your pants. If you're a panster, don't try to plot your story. Do what works for you.

Check out the other blog hoppers -


Megan Johns said...

Sounds like good advice, Roseanne

Angelica London said...

Absolutely true. And, at least for me, some stories get written by a combination of pantsing and plotting. Whatever works is the way to go!

Karen Cote said...

I'm like you Ro. If I know what's coming....the story is dead. I like my characters bossing me around. Lol. They know where they want to go but if know where they're going, it dims my excitement and block is inevitable. I don't want predictable and manipulative scenes. I want to be surprised. I love writing a scene where I get so excited at the development, I can hardly contain myself. Don't they call that living on the edge? Maybe you have some of that in you too...of course you do my cemetery-fascinating friend. Lots of levels to your persona. Great post. Thx for the smile.

diannehartsock said...

Great advice! I wasted years trying to write the way people said I should. Now I just write in my own style and it seems to work pretty well. Good luck with your writer's block! Never a fun place to be in.

Here's my muse:

Ginger Simpson said...

You gained a smile from another pantser. Plotting has never worked for me either. Right now, my muse must have lost her voice, because she's not talking, but I'm patient. GRRRRRR! Okay, so maybe not so patient, but I've got other things to occupy my time at the moment. :)

Laurean Brooks said...


For me, plotting is like being forced to eat plain vanilla ice cream. It's okay, but there are no surprises.

Why not add caramel, hot fudge, marshmallows, and almonds to enliven the taste buds?

Shoot! Why eat vanilla when you can have Rocky Road?

As a full-blown Pantster (why do I get this visual of my pants blowing up? LOL), the story dies if I plot more than a chapter ahead. When ideas pop into my head, I file them for future reference to use later in the story. Sometimes I find a place for them, sometimes not. It depends my characters. They decide.

Someone said, "No surprise for the writer, no suprrise for the reader." I think we all prefer surprises. A story with no surprises makes for dull reading. "Yawn"

Sometimes I envy plotters who can write amazing stories. They know where they are going, all the in betweens, and how it will end. But for some reason, I can't stick to those rules. So I've quit trying to change. I just go with the flow. Or else the flow stops.

lprobinson64 said...

I've read your post Rose and I can understand where you coming from. I've read the comments and all of them are good. In my own case, I've found that I really don't know much about plotting, but I have sit down and listed the events I wanted to put in the story. Not all of them and sometimes none of them get in the story, but it is a good way to break the writer's block while working on a particular story. With the story I'm editing now, well, I've had more trouble giving my heroine conflict because I do want to portray her as a sensible loving creature, but then an editor where I submitted the ms said she was wishy washy so I thought I'd try. The only thing I could come up with was to brainstorm troubles that I could possibly get her into. I'm doing better with it now, but sometimes it's hard to hurt her, you know? Brainstorming is what gets me out of the writer's block. Esp. when I hit a spot in the story that I don't know how to go on. I brainstorm various directions the char could walk off into and think about it while doing everything else.

Roseanne Dowell said...

That's the truth, Laurean. I know how the book ends when I start or at least I have a good idea. Sometimes my characters fool me and go a different way.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Thanks, LP. I know what you mean about hurting your heroine. But think about it this way. NO one is perfect, therefore our characters can't be perfect or they come off as false. We all have faults and bad habits. You don't have to have her get into trouble, but she has to be believable. Maybe she's not particularly fond of cats or dogs. Maybe she doesn't care for babies, but loves older children. Or vise versa. I know people who don't care for kids until their teenagers. I'm sure you can come up with something. I love brainstorming. I've come up with such great ideas from that.

David M. Brown said...

Hi Roseanne - I do like to plot out a general storyline but it's never set in stone. For one thing, my wife and I brainstorm a lot and very often the story changes direction as a result and for another it's quite satisfying to think that a story writes itself in part!

lionmother said...

Roseanne, this is so true! As a panther I usually start a book without knowing where it is going. With my second novel I got to a certain point and I didn't know where I wanted to go. Then all of a sudden like i was on a roller coaster I just held on and let the characters write the ending. It was pretty scary, but as they wrote it I realized it would be perfect! It was a real revelation to me when I saw the last sentence and said, okay this is the end!! But if I had started with this in mind I never would have put in some of the other scenes that add a different texture to the story. With my first novel - If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, I had a whole different ending in mind. But I got into a complete stop and needed to take a bootcamp to jump start me! There I was able to learn more about my characters and found my ending. It can be pretty scary when you write like I do, but it is also a lot of fun as you said. Surprise is the best!!

lionmother said...

Whoops, meant pantser. My computer changed it for me. Though I might be a panther too.LOL!!