Today let’s talk about plots. The biggest challenge for a fiction writer is to create a unique and engaging plot. That’s what writing is about! While this is great, and authors imagination could fly leaps and bounds…the truth is most of our ideas are crap! Please let’s be honest here!
I have recently learned that the ideas that fly in and out of my head or suggested by my friends or colleagues may not always have a book in them. Hey, nothing against anyone, but you know, you just know.
I have learned this through experience, and I am pretty sure you and other authors have been on the same pathway. Remember, the drawer full of uncompleted manuscripts that you haven’t touched for years! The thing with me was that I would always come up with excellent ideas for my book and begin writing without thinking or planning, but now I have changed my strategies, and here is why?
A few years ago, I would come up with ideas, and get so excited about them and start writing the book immediately ( btw..super big mistake!). The issue was that after a few pages I would get stuck and couldn’t think further. I would sit and stare at the computer, wondering where the story I was supposed to write?
The other thing, I realized was acceptance. While your brain argues with you reminds you that because you spent so many hours on this.. it must be a good story! But deep down I know it is not an exceptional plot. So in the near future, I know I will stop. You might have come to the same conclusion about a particular idea. Also, as a writer, I read extensively, and I immediately know if the idea is similar to something I have read before!
My problem was that I didn’t think the plot through and I had no synopsis or a basic summary of the plot. I had an idea, but if I had begun with an overview of the story I would have known the quality of the plot, and would have either changed something or not begun writing at all! This activity would have not only saved me time, but also I would have dodged the frustrations!
There is more to writing a summary of the plot. If it is written down somewhere in your journal, computer or tablet. Firstly, you stop thinking about it, because you now know reading the summary will help you remember the plot in the near future. So it’s off your mind! Believe it or not, this is the best thing you can do for your book.
The next best part is that if you stop thinking about plot and it is valuable or loved enough, your subconscious mind will take over. Yes…its all in the psychology! And when that happens, it’s an awesome experience! Why? Because unlike your conscious mind which believes in boundaries and logic and gets quickly distracted; your subconscious is completely free to work on the idea or plot anyway it likes. And if you want great plots, hey let it do the job!
One tip though, do not obsess over it. Leave it, entirely. Trust me; you will have a plot that you never imaged. Boy, it will surprise you. For example, the plot of my latest story (which is in the first draft) came to me such a way. I had thought of the idea ages ago, wrote it down and completely forgot about it. Out of the blue, it came back with a vengeance and an utterly fantastic idea that made me jump off the couch!
So, the takeaway. If you think of an idea, and you are spending too much time just dreaming, write down a summary. It will give you a general picture of what the novel. And if you want it to be unique, leave it aside and see the magic happen!