Our granddaughter is a born organizer, like her mom. The genes certainly do not come from me ... when I snapped this pic of our nine-year-old plowing through rearranging the plastic containers in my cupboard, I thought, “She’s actually enjoying this.”
For me, organizing on paper is way easier than in the physical world. I’d far rather write a pointed essay or edit a chapter than shuffle around plastic containers, for instance. But even with writing, my reticence to organize comes into play.
Watching a plot evolve as a character’s personality develops brings me pleasure, much more than if I were to eke out a step-by-step walk through life for that heroine or hero. The joy is in the surprises.
Don’t you love it when you need something thrilling to occur in your character’s life, so you go for a walk, ask for guidance, and voila~ the perfect scenario pops into your mind?
Another way of saying panster-writing.
On the other hand, this approach can also allow disorder to rule. Once your characters lead you to the end of the novel, you have to go back again to make sure all the necessary elements have magically stolen into your story.
When they haven’t, you often delete more than you wrote in the first place on the way to a reader-friendly order. Does your middle sag? Do your chapter endings titillate the imagination? Will this scene in the middle of the forest, running from the Gestapo, seem a bit much?
At least now, after seven years of honing my skills through online classes, lots of reading, workshops, etc., I know what to do when I go back through a manuscript for the umpteenth time. That’s a plus.
As with plastic container organizing, I also realize the necessity of a willingness to throw things out. Lids that don’t match any receptacle? Into the TOSS basket they go. The same goes for scenes full of literary nuggets that slow down the plot. ARGH!!!
Never thought I’d say it, but being a plotter has its enviable points.
Gail has always loved to read, but came to fiction writing through the back door. She facilitated parish nurse and hospice workshops on grief and loss, wrote resources for caregivers, and instructed college expository writing and English as a Second Language. After she penned her memoir, Catching Up with Daylight, the fiction bug bit her. She's been addicted ever since, with special interest in World War II women's fiction.
She and her husband enjoy life in small-town northern Iowa, their grandchildren, and in winter, the Ponderosa forest of Central Arizona.
Personal note: meeting new friends is the frosting on my cake--please feel free to contact me however it works for you.