The Point of a Scene: Thinking in Concepts

by Jami Gold on November 20, 2012

in Writing Stuff

Pencil connected to a light bulb with text: How Detailed Do Our Ideas Need to Be?

A couple of months ago, I read a blog post that forever changed how I approached drafting scenes. That probably sounds melodramatic, but it’s true.

We’ve often talked about the differences between plotters and pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants), and how as a die-hard-and-happy-about-it pantser, I don’t want to plot or outline or come up with too many details for my story before I get it on the page. However, my experience with the fast-drafting technique of word sprints proved that I write faster when I have some idea of where a scene is going.

Hmm, is anyone else sensing a conflict between those two goals? My struggle to reconcile the two resulted in my Lost Your Pants? The Impatient Writer’s Guide to Plotting a Story workshop.

I had a vague understanding of how I managed that balancing act, but I didn’t know how to explain it to others for the workshop. Enter the-blog-post-that-changed-my-thought-process: What a Concept! Plotting Your Novel Conceptually by one of my favorite bloggers and people in the world, Janice Hardy:

“Thinking about a story conceptually allows me to brainstorm what I want to have happen without worrying about the details. Things like, I know I want a major reveal and surprise at the mid-point. I know I want X to happen in the climax. Whatever the protagonist does at the climax of act one will come back to bite them in the all-is-lost-moment at the end of act two. I can shape the flow of the story even though I don’t know exactly how it will go. Conceptually, I know how I want it to turn out.”

Thinking in concepts. This is the link between pantsing—>planning—>plotting. This is what helps us think in the big picture of what we want to accomplish with a scene. This allows us to have some idea, some goal, to write toward, even when we’re pantsing.

My NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project has brought this issue to the forefront. I’d expected a confrontation between the heroine and her family to be one of the “pinch points,” but a complication I hadn’t seen coming at all (and I do mean that literally, I didn’t know it was going to happen until I typed it) ended up in the pinch point slot.

Uh-oh. Just because I’m a pantser doesn’t mean my perfectionist inner editor is silent while I’m drafting, and boy, did I hear angst-filled complaints throughout that section. But I’ve learned to trust my muse, so I ran with the scene.

Then I stepped back and thought about what I’d intended to accomplish with the original family confrontation scene. Guess what? This new scene accomplishes the same high-level goal: the heroine feels attacked, insecure, and lonely. A perfect time for the hero to step up, don’t you think? *wink*

For me, thinking about concepts, about the big picture, about what I want to accomplish with a scene, is all the planning/plotting I want to do in advance. But whether we’re plotters or pantsers or something in between, everyone can benefit from thinking in concepts. As Janice (a plotter) explains, these benefits include:

“I’m not locking onto any one particular detail that might prevent me from coming up with a better idea. It also helps me stay focused on the type of plot event I want, not just a scene that feels cool but might not serve the story I want to tell…

Next time you’re plotting, try looking conceptually at how you want the story to unfold. Think about:

    • The types of events you want to happen at key points
    • When surprises are revealed
    • What plot points you want to connect or build off of
    • What events will raise the stakes and where they’ll fall
    • Where you want the reader to feel certain emotions”

I love it! I take this same attitude with me when I fill out beat sheets. I don’t worry about the details. I might know that something is going to trigger a turning point but not have the slightest clue what that trigger is until I get there.

Instead, I think about what I want to accomplish at that point, or about the type of scene I want. Am I trying to create a certain mood, reach an emotional turning point, or force a do-or-die choice? These clues to the big picture are more important to my ability to write a scene than knowing the specifics of how I’ll make it work.

So the next time you’re stuck on a scene, or worry that you’re being led down an irrelevant plot point, step back. Figure out—at the conceptual level—what you want to accomplish at that point in the story. Maybe you’ll realize you need to gag your characters. Maybe you’ll realize you were missing a goal or transition. Or maybe you’ll realize your muse came up with a better idea without telling you. *smile*

Do you think in concepts, specifics, or both? Do you struggle with knowing the point of a scene? Do you agree that thinking in concepts can help? Have you ever written a scene that accomplished the same goal but was better than the one you’d planned? Do you let your muse lead you down potentially irrelevant paths with the hope that he/she has a plan?

P.S. It’s the time of year to nominate your favorite writing blog for the annual Top 10 Blogs for Writers Contest by Write to Done. Most of those who blog do it because we love helping others and making a difference in our readers’ lives, so please share the love and nominate your favorite writing blog to show your appreciation. I’m nominating Janice Hardy’s blog. Who are you nominating?

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36 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Taurean Watkins November 20, 2012 at 6:50 am

Great post, Jami. I’ll definitely be going through this after Nano/Thanksgiving is over, and like you, I nominated Janice Hardy’s blog.

It was SO hard to choose between Janice’s blog, yours,
and Jody Hedlund’s blog (http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com)

I would’ve nominated all three of you if I could.

(Next year will be even HARDER since I follow so many great blogs regularly now, but I hope Janice wins so I can vote for your or Jody next)

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 8:28 am

Hi Taurean,

Aww, thanks for the kind words. :) I love Jody’s blog too, so I’m honored to be in such great company. Thanks for the comment!

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Annie Neugebauer November 20, 2012 at 7:59 am

Jami, this is a wonderful post! I tend to think in concepts during plotting, details during drafting, and back to concepts during revisions. All of this without *really* thinking about it in these terms. I have a feeling allowing some of the concept-geared thought in during drafting might save me some revisions down the line, so I will definitely be trying that during my next project. Thanks for the tip!

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hi Annie,

Ooo, yes, great point! Revisions are a perfect time to go back to those concepts of what we wanted to accomplish so we can judge how well the scene in its current form meets that goal. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Wulf November 20, 2012 at 8:25 am

I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s not so much pantsers (no plot) vs plotters (have a plot) as it is just different styles of planning.

You need a motivation, an idea, and a problem. Whether those are instinctive things that you draw from the wellspring of your subconscious before or during the act of writing, it still happens.

You need a plan, not a great plan, not a perfect plan, just a plan.

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 8:44 am

Hi Wulf,

“Whether those are instinctive things that you draw from the wellspring of your subconscious before or during the act of writing, it still happens.”

Exactly. :) For myself, I’ve learned I get too attached to ideas once they’re written down, so I put off writing them until I’m really writing them. LOL! But there’s definitely no one “right” way to do it. Thanks for the comment!

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Chihuahua Zero November 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

Thinking in concepts…I should try doing that when going for the rest of my NaNoWriMo project, although I’m not sure what to do since I’m almost at 40k and the midpoint hasn’t even been crossed…unless I make one of the earlier scenes that. I’ll have to see once I get to it.

I nominated Joe Bunting of The Write Practice.

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hi Chihuahua Zero,

LOL! Yeah, I’ve been having wonky word count issues with mine too. Like I mentioned in the post, I thought I was making my pinch point (and the midpoint after that) all way too late, but they turned out to happen in different scenes. But like you said, sometimes you can’t recognize that until after you see how they all fit together. Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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Carradee November 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

This is why I like having the cover copy if not the logline drafted before I start writing a book—it gives me a rough map of where I’m headed, tone-wise, mood-wise, content-wise, etc. :)

And it’s funny; I hadn’t thought of it in these terms, but the general type of outline that (sometimes) works for me could be interpreted as this type, though it’s more along the lines of jotting down actual major events/emotions/character discoveries, rather than identifying them as plot points.

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Hi Carradee,

Great point! Yes, I often write a query letter blurb before starting the draft (yes, even though I’m pantsing the story :) ). As you said, it can help me figure out the big picture ahead of time. Thanks for the comment!

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Serena Yung November 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Thinking in abstract concepts being the bridge between pantsing and plotting…I like this! :D

I do agree with you that it helps to have some kind of idea what general thing you’re aiming for.

E.g. I had this novel where all I knew was that the two protagonists (two 7 year olds!) will go through a series of adventures together and in the end become best friends–and that the end scene would be of them hugging. (Yeah, I like sweet stuff. ^^) As this novel was 400+ pages, it definitely helped me to have this vague goal to “shape” my efforts (or shape my pantsing), as Janice Hardy worded it. My pantsing would probably be quite blind and confused if I didn’t have such an abstract end point in my head.

However, in this Nanowrimo novel I’m writing, I kind of have a problem. The protagonist is this little boy who is extremely antisocial and has no friends. Readers would EXPECT him to make some friends or at least one good friend by the end of the novel. HOWEVER, I just don’t want him to make any friends! Hehe yeah, I’m cruel. But it’s more like–it’s highly unlikely that my protagonist will break out of his preference to be separated from people, and I kind of like how he’s so independent and friendless. He’s so friendless, yet he really is perfectly happy about it! So I think that’s very cool and special so I don’t want him to change.

But so, since I don’t want my novel to go in that direction, now I’m stuck. Should I just do the traditional adventure novel and have him go on several adventures and complete those missions without any character change? I.e. purely plot-driven and not character-driven? But then the character-loving side of me really wants to do some sort of character-change/ arc or something like that.

So now, I have absolutely NO idea what kind of ending it will be. I don’t even know what kind of emotional tone I want to end it on (but definitely not tragedy!) At the moment, I’m just writing without any direction at all. The good thing is, though I’m writing with absolutely no goal in mind, my mind always sends me stuff to write so I never get stuck during Nanowrimo. Also, I’m feeling optimistic that eventually I’ll discover that ending or character change I want to do. And perhaps, I don’t get to decide on the ending: my CHARACTER calls the shots on what happens to him in the end.

Do you sometimes get that dilemma where you want a story to go in a certain direction, yet you have to make sure your characters also want to go that way? I.e. your characters are the ultimate authority here, not you? That you’re just riding along as a reporter on their story–a mere observer–so you have absolutely no control over what happens?

P.S. I apologize for the caps. If I could do italics, I would do that instead.

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Krysta November 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Then don’t change the character by giving him friends, being an absolute loner and being happy with it is only one side of his character…

The reporter thing? Absolutely. I once envisioned a scene where the main character of a bright shiny idea barged in on my shower (He’s not that bright.) and shouting, “I finally know how to start my story!” while I suppress a scream (Grandma would really think I’m crazy). This is after half an hour of thinking up of how to thinking a hook for the reader to get engaged.

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Hi Krysta,

LOL! Erm, yes, my characters–usually the male ones (or my male muse), what a surprise–visit me in the shower all the time. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hi Serena,

LOL! Oh, my character take over All. The. Time. :)

i think it will be an interesting experiment for you to do this project without a character arc in mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if one develops over the course of your drafting. Then revisions would focus on how to strengthen that arc. All totally doable. :) Good luck and thanks for the comment!

P.S. It’s a pain, but to make italics, check out the bullets at the bottom of this post. (I’d repeat them here, but you wouldn’t see the codes, just the italics. LOL!)

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Serena November 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Testing

“LOL! Oh, my characters take over All. The. Time. :)”

Glad to hear that I’m not the only one. XD

“i think it will be an interesting experiment for you to do this project without a character arc in mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if one develops over the course of your drafting. Then revisions would focus on how to strengthen that arc. All totally doable.”

Yay, thanks for the encouragement! ^^ Now I’m extremely curious to see what the character arc (or arcs!) will be.

By the way, did you plan on how long your Nanowrimo novel will be? Mine will definitely not be finished after I hit 50K, lol. So I will keep writing till I am done—don’t know how many hundred pages I will need to write though, because it has been 44 K now but still not much has happened plotwise: the story was constantly sidetracked by philosophical, psychological, sociological, or whatever ramblings.

Oh one more thing. Did you know that if you become a Nanowrimo winner (finish 50K on time), you will get the option to self publish for free? :D I couldn’t believe this at first, but it’s true:

http://www.nanowrimo.org/forums/special-offers-and-greetings-from-nano-sponsors/threads/91549

And since the offer expires next year at the end of June, we have half a year to finish and edit our stories before publishing. But it seems, from this link, that you can publish other novels too, not just your nanowrimo story.

Free self publishing!! ^^

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Hi Serena,

a) The test worked. :)
b) Oh my goodness! That’s really cool about the Create Space NaNo prize of 5 free print copies. I hadn’t heard that before. Thanks!
c) Where was I? I got so distracted by the shiny at that link I can’t remember what I was going to say. LOL!

Oh yes, I had 23K going in to NaNo (since I’m doing it “rebel style” ;) ), and I figured the story would end up around 85K. So my goal for NaNo month is actually to get in about 60-65K new words. I’m currently at 44K new words, but now we have Thanksgiving and my brother and his family came in a day early. So I’ll definitely hit the 50K to be a winner, but I don’t know if I’ll finish all the 65K I need to complete this story by the end of November. We’ll see. :) Thanks for the comment and big thanks for letting me know about Create Space’s offer!

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Serena November 20, 2012 at 9:38 pm

No problem ^^ I was extremely thrilled when I saw this on the Nano website and it super-powered me to write even faster. This is so exciting!! :D

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Serena November 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hey, just wanted to add something about writing from our subconscious.

I just read the Nanowrimo pep talk from Marissa Meyer. She said that very often, the first things that come to mind are cliches and the “all-too-expected”. And she suggests that we make a list of, say, 20 things that we would like to write about right now, and find something we really care about or genuinely find fun, then dive into it.

You know, I’ve always been puzzled when writers say that the first things that pop into your head are mostly cliches. Maybe I’m weird, but the first things that come to my mind are sometimes, or occasionally cliches, but most of the time, what come up are my current obsessions. So writing from my subconscious usually gives me not cliches, but the stuff that I’m currently experiencing or thinking about. Thus, it’s usually not cliche, because these ideas are about my life, my own mental preoccupations, not everyone’s preoccupations which would be what cliches are. Well, you could say that my subconscious is producing what would be cliches to me personally–because it’s totally expected that Serena would write about those things. But they would not be cliches to people who don’t know me: they wouldn’t expect those idiosyncrasies in my story because they don’t know the idiosyncrasies of my life, lol. They might be cliches to my close friends though, because they do know about the things I currently care most about or think about in my life.

Thus, I also found that the deliberate decision to write out a list of at least 20 things you like in order to find something you like was strange, because what comes to my mind first is what I most like and want at the moment already, lol.

I’m aware though that the process might be different for other writers—especially the ones who aren’t used to pure pantsing, perhaps.

Still, I’m very curious about whether the first things that come to most people’s minds are mostly universal cliches (that we’ve all heard of), or unique things from their own life (that only they and some people close to them have heard of, and therefore are non-cliche for people who don’t know about their life.) Or you could say: does your mind give you mostly universal cliches, or personal cliches? (I’m constantly bubbling with the latter!)

Hehe hope you didn’t mind me abusing my new-found ability to make italics XD

P.S. Since I seldom or even quite rarely get “universal cliches”, I don’t have a problem with those. My problem are my “personal cliches!” It can be so annoying to keep seeing what was most recently in my consciousness and my life appearing in my stories. It’s like I can’t get rid of my life’s influence, argh. Sometimes I call this the “Serena crap” (because I get so annoyed, please excuse my rudeness) and I so desperately want to get rid of this “most recent life experiences directly getting into my stories” effect. Personal cliches are nice sometimes if it’s an issue I care about, is relevant to the story, and enriches or strengthens or adds “more” to the story, e.g. my current thoughts and observations on very sociable versus very antisocial people; or my current views on modern technology, etc. But if it’s something stupid like I was reading about John Milton yesterday and suddenly my character is also reading about John Milton, then argh! John Milton, please get out of my head! (No offense to him. Just using this as an example.)

So often, what I want is neither universal cliches, or personal cliches, but things that my character is actually doing. I.e. what my character does has nothing to do with the “typical” life OR my life. If my character does do something that’s typical of the stereotype and/or typical of something in my life, that is just a coincidence. “Real” people also do things that are sometimes stereotypical but sometimes original; but what they do is because they want to do it , not because they want to deliberately follow or defy a stereotype (even though this sometimes happens as well.) Lol. Does all this make sense? I do think it’s a danger if we feel that our characters must always violate stereotypes because “real” people do follow stereotypes sometimes. We should not feel ashamed if our character is behaving exactly as we would expect him or her to behave. In fact, if he or she is behaving in a very surprising way, there is a chance that he or she is not being original, but being out-of-character.

Would you prefer your character to risk being stereotypical or to risk being out-of-character? I personally think that staying in character is the most important priority. But this is just my opinion, of course!

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Jami Gold November 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

Hi Serena,

I’ve found the “our first thoughts are cliches” idea to be inaccurate for me as well. I suspect that’s a clue into just how bizarre my brain works. :) I don’t know that my initial ideas have anything to do with my current obsessions, however, and maybe that’s because my subconscious is so clearly personified as “not me” (this goes back to my alpha male muse :) ). He’s often disdainful of my thoughts entirely.

I think you’re right too, about how if we stay true to the character, we’ll avoid many cliche issues, and the ones that are there are meant to be there because people do act stereotypically sometimes. In fact, I’ve had problems with some characters being immature types and expressing themselves in cliches because that’s the superficial nature of their brain. I want to put an “author’s note” there–Yes, I know this is a cliche, but my character made me type it because that’s what they really thought! LOL!

So I absolutely agree with you that we should stay true to the character, even if they do what we expect, because they shouldn’t act out of character–for them–unless they have a reason. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Serena Yung November 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm

It’s good to hear I’m not the only one who disagrees that everyone’s first ideas must be cliches.

You know? After writing the comment that you just replied to, the next time I wrote my story, I realized that my comment was inaccurate. Actually, most of my ideas are “random” things that my character does. Well not exactly “random”, but things that come out of nowhere, things that are neither cliches nor my personal obsessions–but they are things that my characters definitely did do and would do.

So, my first ideas in my mind are like:

Random/ Out of Nowhere ideas that are nevertheless still In-Character (About 80% of the time) > Personal or Recent Obsessions (About 15%) > Universal Cliches (about 5% or even less).

Lol, I love how your subconscious is so not you and is dominated by your male muse! You know how I told you I had two male muses? Well, now it has extended to all the story characters I have ever written. All my characters are now my muses. So I could talk to any of them and any of them could talk to me. Often when I want to write something outrageous for a character to do, that character would come out and say, “Do you seriously think I would do that? Delete that immediately!”

“some characters being immature types and expressing themselves in cliches because that’s the superficial nature of their brain. I want to put an “author’s note” there–Yes, I know this is a cliche, but my character made me type it because that’s what they really thought! LOL!

Oh that’s a good point you have there. Some characters’ personalities are very cliched and if we try to make them more complex or “original”, they won’t be the same people anymore! Also, there are characters that you want to stay simple and stereotypical. Like the class clown who never says anything serious, and whose only ability is to crack jokes (that may or may not be funny). You could add “depth and reality” to him by making him sometimes serious, but 1) we can’t *make* characters be something that they aren’t, and 2) why on earth would you want him to be serious? I want him to be the superficial jokester like he is right now, and I don’t want him to ever change!

And like you, I also keep telling my friends that: It’s not my fault he’s like that/ did that/ said that, he made me type it! LOL Like how a friend said she didn’t like how excessively devoted this character is to his wife, because she doesn’t feel this is realistic, but how can I help it? This character is that devoted to his wife! It’s in his nature to be so and I have neither the power nor the right to change how he’s like. :)

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Jami Gold November 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

Hi Serena,

With the way you talked about your characters taking over, I figured that current obsession vs. in-character surprises percentages would be the case. :)

Yes! Class clown–great example of a character who might not be more than he/she appears. Or even if they have depth, they might be deep in a cliched way (funny to make people laugh because they’re abused at home or something).

Really, when you think about it, to those of us who study psychology, almost every behavior could seem cliche, because we know the realities of how common that defense mechanism or coping mechanism or whatever is. These characters ring true as real people because it is such a common behavior.

But maybe to non-psychology students, they’d never see them as cliche, just as real. So maybe it’s us and our psychology background that skews this “cliche or not” meter. :)

Heh. Did you like how I just made a case for semi-cliche characters in order to ring true? ;) Thanks for the comment!

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Serena November 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Hey you made a really great point about how basically every behavior is “cliche” to psychology students or people who observe people’s psychologies intensely. And not just any behavior. Any reasons to explain those behaviors are even more cliche to us! Like the bully who’s only a bully because he feels insecure about himself and wants to make himself feel strong by dominating over others.

In fact, we could say that to any person who has read a good number of stories, any character is a cliche now, because they have seen it all! For instance, I was really intrigued and engrossed by this story about a guardian angel and his charge falling in love with each other, the forbidden love. But my friend was not a bit impressed. This was because that was my first time reading about a guardian angel romance whereas my friend had already read tons and tons of angel-related stories. I mean, I’ve read about vampires, fairies, demons, werewolves, elves, dwarfs, wizards, witches, etc. But never angels for some reason!

A similar example was how I became so obsessed with the Hunger Games. But that same friend thought it was so-so, because she has read tons more teen fiction books than I did. Okay so this example deviates from our “cliche” characters topic, but it still speaks to the phenomenon that it’s hard to impress “experts” or those who have already read a lot of X type of stories or characters; but on the bright side, it’s pretty easy to impress “non-experts” or readers who have rarely or have never read X before!

Edith November 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I really like your idea Jami of basing the plot on concepts, on what we hope to achieve at certain points or in specific scenes. Like you I find my plans, if I made any, often change in the writing, usually taking me completely by surprise. Actually I am beginning to suspect that I’m more of a pantser than a plotter and boy is this surprising me! NaNoWriMo is teaching me so much! But having stated my pull to pantsing I shall always attempt some level of plotting. I like to know that I have a structure to turn to when the well temporarily dries up. The plot acts for me as a kind of starting point but I don’t hold myself to it format at all. This does mean lots of outline re-writes throughout the first draft!!

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Hi Edith,

LOL! Come to the dark side. ;)

Just kidding–you have to find what works for you, and it’s really cool that you’re learning so much with NaNo. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Teresa Robeson November 20, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I think you explained the idea beautifully in the Lost Your Pants class! That reminds me, I need to review the class notes again and then take you up on emailing you about my consultation prize (thank you SOOO much again)!

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Hi Teresa,

Yes, I loved the idea so much from what we talked about in the workshop that I wanted to share Janice’s post with everyone. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Christopher November 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I’m one of those evil, cackling plotters, and during the first draft I find it necessary to plot out all the bits of conflict and key points down to the scene level.

But sometimes this seems to me like a security blanket — the scene will go other places, the character will do something I hadn’t predicted, but the planning is the only way I can tap into that level of unpredictability. Sounds backward, but it helps me for some reason to “know” exactly what’s happening even if it doesn’t happen at all.

This thinking in concepts is a good idea. I noticed you linked to Storyfix about the pinch points. Larry Brooks would probably say it doesn’t matter how many go-overs you have to do before you really *get* your story, as long as you get the craft concepts beneath it.

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Jami Gold November 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Hi Christopher,

LOL! Nah, I started as a plotter, so I’m definitely not “evangelical” about pantsing. (Er, despite my “come to the dark side” reply to Edith above. ;) ) Plotters definitely aren’t evil–although they may cackle. I often do when I’m doing mean things to my characters. *snicker* I did have at least one plotter in my workshop last time. While I’m a pantser, I’m also a total story structure wonk, so they were able to absorb lots of information that applied to their plotting methods as well.

I get that “security blanket” idea. For me, I just happen to know that once I commit something to paper/screen, it’s hard for me to see other options. That’s me, though. Everyone approaches writing differently and needs to find what makes sense for them.

Yes, I love the Story Engineering book by Larry Brooks of Storyfix. He’s kind of anti-pantsing, but I can ignore those passages because I think he’d say that my inherent understanding of story structure allows my subconscious to follow the same rules that plotters do consciously. See, story structure wonk. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Nancy S. Thompson November 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

That’s my initial step when I craft a story. I not down notes in my phone on what the scene is about. Then, later when I’m outlining, I flesh it out a little bit more, add more detail & action. That sets me up for the actual writing. So I guess writing my first draft is a 3-step process. Works for me!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Jami Gold November 21, 2012 at 9:30 am

Hi Nancy,

Great job on finding a process that works for you. :) Thanks for the comment and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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Jami Gold November 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

Hi Serena,

Exactly! And those are some great examples to illustrate the point. That’s why I think it’s more important to have a character “ring true” than to avoid cliches. :) Thanks for the great comment!

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