Well. Before I start ranting and screaming and arguing about the importance and dangers of plotting, I’ll tell you what I’ve done today. You see, this counts as the “Other Things”. See how I fooled everyone and lured people into reading this on the pretense that I may say something interesting or preposterous about writing? Brilliant, isn’t it? I watched a movie today. It was the Silver Linings Playbook, written and directed by David O. Russell. It was a romantic comedy, but I have trouble labeling it a Rom-com. The Bounty Hunter is a romantic comedy. Crazy, Stupid, Love is a romantic comedy. Heck, even the Change-Up can be considered as some sort of a romantic comedy. But the Silver Linings Playbook is on a whole new level. First of all, it’s enjoyable to watch.

I hate to break it to everyone, but I don’t like movies where I have to force myself to watch it. I like movies that make me laugh occasionally without stooping to utter ridiculousness. You know? This movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence made me laugh. That’s why I liked it.

The plot was good. Great, even. It had a very big tinge of realism, but managed to make the ending lovable. That’s the problem with realism. Romance + Realism = Titanic. 

I know. I’m reaching for the tissues even as we speak. But you get my point. So, I wanted to write about plotting and realism. How real do we actually want to get? 

At the beginning of your book, you have to decide three things. 

1. Tone

2. ….

3. …

I have no idea what the other two points are. Oh, you’ve mistaken me for someone that actually knows a lot about writing. Hah. It’s okay. You’re not the first one to make that mistake. When I started my book, the Line of Corruption, I knew one thing. Gritty. I wanted it brutal and real. That’s it. Absolutely no idea what the names of the characters were going to be. My main character, Ambrose, was originally named Ryder. And a character whose name struck fear into the hearts of many men was named Simon. That does not strike fear into me. I don’t care if he murdered a million people. When someone says Simon, I go, “Forgot the says. Don’t have to do it!”

Anyways. So, who am I to preach to everyone about thinking about everything extensively? I’d be a hypocrite, if so. When I was nearing the end of my book, however, I got a new writing program. It’s called, Scrivener. And it allowed me to start separate “folders” and I would write in ‘Notes’ what that chapter was going to entail.

So. I plotted everything from page 171 to… The last chapter? 

I was feeling pretty smug about myself. Y’know, it’s a big deal. Plotted everything. The next issue was writing those events. And let me tell you, it….

 

 

 

… failed miserably.

Or I should say, I failed miserably. I started my book on the foundation of spontaneity, and even though that foundation crumbled beneath the huge building of mismatched sentences after a week or two… There was a certain freedom to it. It was fun! I wasn’t restricted. In fact, if I had plotted ahead, I wouldn’t have gotten the plot I have today. And it is, in my opinion, better than my original intention. The plot worked out organically and it’s… In my eyes, it’s perfect for the book. I phrased it that way so that no one will go, “WELL, AREN’T YOU FULL OF YOURSELF?”

Because you can hate the book, but the plot would still be for the book. Hah. Yeah. You just got lawyered.

The one thing I understand about plotting is the danger of doing it too much. I think of my characters as semi-real. I don’t start chapters, knowing exactly what everyone will say. All of the conversations in my book are absolutely spontaneous. None of them were planned. I wrote them all on the spot. That could end in disaster, but it has succeeded in hooking my interest.

For someone like me who was not really determined to do anything prior to my first two books, that’s something. That is really something. So, I just want everyone to know that your book isn’t bad if you didn’t plan a plot beforehand. People have different methods of writing. 

I spend a minimum of thirty minutes writing every day. And my word count varies from 346 words to 2.1k. I wrote 869 words just before this in twenty minutes. I don’t force myself to write entire chapters. I just write. And hopefully, it’ll make sense.

Way I see it, if I write in a story every day for an entire week, and I don’t even enjoy a single moment of it… I’m doing something terribly wrong. The characters may be off, or the prose is not up to my standards, or the font is bad. The latter, actually, has happened to me quite often. 

Goddamn Scrivener. It keeps defaulting to Cochin, and Helvetica is so droll. Testing out Baskerville right now, but it’s not really blending well. Do you know of any good fonts? Please comment. 

 

Now. I need to go write since that’s the only way I can come up with a proper plot. Yeah. Sad, isn’t it? G’night, folks! And I did tell you all that I’d have more posts coming. But if you don’t like this… I never did promise that they’d be interesting, did I? Mhm. Loophole~

 

Yours Truly,

J.A. Romano

 

 

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Comments
  1. tktrian says:

    It’s a good idea to have some outline of the plot, but definitely it’s much more fun to just write as it comes out. Especially dialogues. We always start stories with characters. The tone tends to be the same whatever we do: dark and realistic. Stuff can (and will) always be fixed later on. If the plot is super-complicated, it’s good to detail it down well and proper though. Sometimes the plot goes through big changes -> rewrite a-plenty. Sometimes characters go through big changes REGGIE IS GAY too which requires loooot of rewriting. But that’s the fun in the whole creative process, right? 😉

    • J.A. Romano says:

      I don’t know if it’s fun, but it’s definitely an aspect of writing I can never seem to escape. xD

      It seems every time I finish revising something and reread it again later, I find a new mistake. Then I fixate on one misspelling, and start going, “Was it really me who wrote this scene?”

      And there’s your answer as to why I can never seem to finish editing. : )

      • tktrian says:

        Editing is an eternal process. It’s been like two months and we just made it through the first part of Solus even though we’ve edited it several days a week. It just takes so much time, and you have to have fresh eyes whenever you do it or else you’re gonna make the same mistakes again. Or that’s how it feels like anyway!

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