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Friday, June 27, 2008

The Dreaded Plot

Just for fun (ha!), I thought I'd try to write a short story. OK, actually I'd like to apply to the Writers in Paradise conference for next January and needed something other than my short essays and long mid-grade manuscript to submit with the application. So I started to write. And write. And write. And the story was really getting boring.

I decided to clean out my stacks of Writer Magazine dating back a few, well a lot, of years. And as usual, found some excellent advice. I think I'll tack this one on my closest empty surface:

In an article on plot by Jillian Abbott (Writer Magazine, May 2004) that includes quotes from Stuart Woods, Dennis Lehane, and Gayle Lynds, Stuart Woods writes

"Plotting is a process akin to a jazz improvisation: You establish a theme, then improvise on it. I do this on a chapter-by-chapter basis, planning the events that take place, then improvising the writing. I begin this improvisation with a situation (i.e. protagonist discovers skeleton) and build from there."

Great advice, though I'll have to ponder whether it will help me with this dreaded story. Now, off to discover some literary skeletons.

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