More _Fire and Hemlock_ (was: Re: Lion and Unicorn)

Sally Odgers sodgers at
Fri Sep 24 13:13:54 EDT 1999

----------Do you think that's how it works?  If any of the
> writers out there would like to address the question of drafts and
> and which things when, I'm all ears.

I'm not Diana, Elise (sigh) but I have a lot of experience in plotting
books. I do plot mine before I write these days, but quite often they
develop in a different way once I start writing. That's because the
characters start to come alive and round out and often it develops that
where my synopsis says -

X explains to Y that Z happened and together they...

I discover that the way Y has turned out, he wouldn't listen to X and would
refuse to have anything to do with Z. 

That's when I have to replot my way along, using the characters as they
have become. And that, BTW, is why I can't take those
choose-your-own-adventure books seriously, nor those story books where real
names are woven into a generic story. he way characters are - or should be
- it is only *these* people in *this* situation who could react *this* way.

The weird thing is, (and I am *not* trying to be precious here!) that
sometimes I drop something into the story - a comment, an object, a habit -
without thinking, then later, when I get to the 80% point and am having to
ravel up my plot ends, I find I need that comment, object, or habit and
*there it is already*! 

How does my heroine escape from an island? Well, she's already said she was
a champion swimmer at school.

Why does my hero have hidden good qualities? Well, remember that old friend
of his dad's? He was a good role model ...

I think - "Ah, so *that's* why I put that there!" and continue. It's like
magic, but of course it's only my subcoscious that's so used to plotting
now that it does it on automatic pilot. Or maybe creating characters and a
story *is* magic? If so, I only wish it paid better...


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