Sunday, July 14, 2013

Plotting By Shayla Kersten

Have you ever planted a garden? You till the soil, fertilize it carefully and pick out the best seedlings. You plant them with care. Anticipating your bountiful harvest, you tend them daily. No weeds allowed here. Then one day, you find signs of an intruder! Little nibbles on your tender plants! A wascally wabbit! Suddenly you are preoccupied with keeping the annoying critter away from your work in progress!

Writing is like a garden

You slave over your words, trying to make them perfect, hoping to develop something beautiful. The task is difficult and time consuming, especially if you're cursed with the dratted day job syndrome. In the end, a finished manuscript is as satisfying as sitting down to a meal of your own produce or cutting a vase full of flowers from your garden.

However, distractions are as inevitable as they are unwelcome. Even worse when the distraction is of your own making.

That's what I call a plot bunny. In the middle of what you know will be the Next Great American Novel, you're pounding away at the keyboard on the perfect story. Move over, Nora! Maybe you are in the last throes of a deadline or just in the middle of a creative burst of growth. And then a plot bunny bounces through the room.

Hop, hop, hop

Nice bunny. Cute bunny. Insidious little critters, plot bunnies can show up in many ways-an errant comment from your significant other, an overheard line on the television or just a thought generated by your current work. How they show up is neither here nor there.

Plot Bunnnies demand attention

And they should get it! As a writer, you know what I mean. Maybe you call it the "Muse", maybe the "voices in your head" or maybe another term equally strange to non-writers. Whatever the name, you must catch the bunny and keep it safe.

Make notes

On anything handy and savor the opportunity. File it away to be reviewed when you're done with the current project. Writing is hard work but coming up with new plot ideas is sometimes the most difficult part. Don't let the little varmint get away!

And, who knows, maybe that fuzzy little plot bunny is the beginning of the Next Next Great American Novel.


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