Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Avoid Plodding Plots

It is interesting to see how different authors come up with story ideas and find ways to present them. Some plot out their stories and know the endings before they write a single word, while others chose to delve into the story and write with the flow of their creativity. I have found that both are true. I write out a detailed outline first. Once I begin writing, the outline is bound to change, as the story writes itself and the characters evolve.

The way you write depends on the type of story you are writing. In my case, historical fiction has to be accurate, and immaculately so, because if it isn't, I'm sure to hear about it! I have found several ways to keep the plot going. One is to get rid of excess words. If you can say the same thing in three words that you just said in five, delete a couple. Another way is to add dialogue. In my current novel, I am writing about Jefferson Davis' inaugural address. At the time, he was a great orator, but to read the speech now is, shall we say, a little tedious. So to spice it up, I have inserted character dialogue, as well as their thoughts (i.e.what they are feeling, how they are reacting to the speech, etc.).

Action is another effective way to break up a dragging plot. I recently had a peer read my novel, and he said that I had too many action scenes sidetracking from the story, and that I should just get to the point. Little did he know, those side scenes actually happened! Action motivates the plot, keeps it moving, and eventually brings the story around to the end. Without action, dialogue, and plot, the story merely becomes nonfiction.

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