Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Writing - Plot development and planning

One of the aspects of writing that others congratulate themselves for but which I find tedious and even obstructive is planning.

Image result for when plans get in the way

The above picture can be interpreted as you wish but I believe a writer has the richness of the world in his hands and it can be a heavy burden. Planning can be an obstacle to creativity. I have sat through many meetings in education, banking and religion, when the idea of a three or four or five year plan was mooted. My scalp crawls in terror at the eagerness of some people within those groups at the presentation of such an idea. I believe that they think a plan will be the solution to whatever ails the group. Of course, it can be the greatest obstruction to progress, divergent thinking and innovation. I'm not saying that there doesn't need to be a plan, in all activities there needs to be a skeleton on which to hang the flesh, but the plan mustn't be the driver, that is a job for the individuals in the organisation. If the progress isn't going according to the plan then change the plan, don't try to make your actions fit something that may have turned out to be unworkable.

For me writing a book requires an idea, the plan a few minutes of preparation on which to give direction, but then you must write. The characters will then take over and carry the story forward for you to such an extent that the plan may become irrelevant. That is the beauty of writing and the mystical part of creativity, stories have a life of their own and even though you may have created the primordial soup from which the story developed, there comes a point when you may feel that you're no longer in control. Enjoy that moment to the full and pray that the readers engage with your stories in the same way.

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I must stress that in no measure am I involved in writing to make money. In fact, although the figures are small, I lose every month. On the other hand I do receive royalty payments on occasion, and I'm owed money from my publisher and Smashwords because of their policy of not paying anything less than £50 or $50, respectively. The point is that even in a small way the work I produce has value. This is true for all writers whether they make millions or very little. If you are having doubts about the time spent writing without much return, consider the process of buying lottery tickets and a common phrase often used to encourage people to be involved,

'You've got to be in it to win it'

So don't give up on your dreams. Initially the rewards may not be massive, or may even be non-existent, but the dream belongs to you and as such is important to you, so treasure and nurture it for yourself. Hopefully others may buy into your stories and give you the success you deserve.

God Bless