Monday, January 22, 2007

Plot Complications

I've been working on a house-name Western based on an outline I wrote while I was in Austin for the World Fantasy Convention (scribbled on a hotel notepad, actually). I thought I had worked out a simple but compelling plot that would make for a pretty easy book to write. But once I started working on it, I found myself thinking, "Hey, what if I made this guy the villain instead of this other guy?" No, I decided, that would be too complicated and would take too much setting up. So I kept going. But then I thought, "If I did this and this and this, it would set things up so that the other idea would work after all." Once I decided to go for it, though, I realized I had to set up half a dozen other things. Still, the twist was nice and all the clues I was planting seemed to work, but I was having to go through the book and plant those clues, and it got to the point where I had to write a whole new outline just to keep track of everything I needed to do . . .

I feel like I should stand up and say, "My name is James, and I'm a plotaholic."

1 comment:

Ed Gorman said...

Man, I'm right there with you. I've been starting over and over and over on a novel since late Nov and by now have pitchd an easy 50,000 words. Just can't find the right way to do it. If it's true that all we write is formula stuff please send me the formula Fed Ex overnight. I'll send you my credit card number.