Monday, January 02, 2012

Monday Machination: Thoughts on Plot

I found this website today, again about literature based plotting, with quotes from writers. Go here to see all 13 quotes.

I particularly like Stephen King's quote.
I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren't compatible.

I have read that many times and I have to agree with Mr. King. Maybe I agree with him because I'm a pantser... or perhaps I am a pantser because I agree with him. No matter. Either way, that makes absolute sense to me.

But then, right below that, the quote from John Irving bothers me (for much the same reason). He says (paraphrasing of course) that you cannot be a good storyteller if you don't know as much of the story as possible, if not all of it, before you start writing. I call bologna on that. I've ready some pretty incredible stories that started out as a single line in a forum that grew as other writers added another single line in each post. No planning. No plot development. Just plain storytelling.

The quotes further down from Bill Watterson and Ashleigh Brilliant made me laugh. I lost half a cup of coffee between the two. I really hope my life is a comedy at the end, and yes, I have no idea what my life-plot could even hope to be by then.

So what do you think of these quotes? Do you agree with any of them? Disagree with them? Find them absolutely boring or hilarious? Let me know in the comments below!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS


Booksteve said...

I actually GET what Mr. Irving is saying but look closely. He ends not with a period but with a question mark. "What kind of storyteller are you?" Whether or not he intended it that way, one could answer with words like--spontaneous, creative, original, complicated, off-the-cuff...all sorts of amazing adjectives apply. Instead of shutting you down, he opens up a whole world of possibilities.

Dee said...

Hmmm. That is a good point. I still don't like the instruction to "know" the story. Not everyone writes like that. At least, I don't write like that. When I tried to write like that... well, you know how many permanently unfinished projects I've started over the years because of planning them to death.