Plotting and planning

Here’s an interesting quote from Tim Winton in Fairfax’s Sunday Life back in March:

“Writing is a habit for me. I don’t plan great projects; I just go to work and hope something shows up. I’m always working on something but don’t always know what it is.”

I know that some authors plan their plot and chapters in detail before actually beginning to write. Some use screenwriters’ storyboarding techniques to consider individual scenes and shuffle the order around. Others plan the rise and fall of characters’ fortunes moment by moment within each scene.

I don’t.

Usually I begin with a question or basic premise I want to explore. With Game as Ned I had a starting point and an ending, although I left it until late to decide whether that ending would be on an up or down note.

The concept for the manuscript I recently completed began with an ending, which meant I had to go forensic and dig backwards to uncover the plot.

The story I am now working on has a starting premise and a conclusion and I need to build a strong core.

Of course this doesn’t mean I don’t plan. I do try to keep a running sketch of each chapter I’ve written and review this regularly. If a chapter doesn’t add anything to what we know of the characters or plot, I know I need to highlight it. And press Delete.

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