Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Question of the Day #531

Sooo...once again, the concensus is that my manuscript is not working. I've got great characters, a weak plot and flimsy structure. Which is usually my problem.

But it's interesting, because S, one of my supercool critique group members, usually develops strong plots first and brings characters to life when revising. On her last manuscript, J did the same thing. Although with her previous work, strong characters came to J first and they helped her build plot later.

This got me thinking about how different people have different methods of getting from A to B. It could be something as simple as my roommates microwaving food when I never touch that machine. Or it could be the crazy way S divides a dinner check, somehow backing into it and zig zagging from A to Z before she gets back to B. And H and I would rather just split it down the middle.

It's all about the approach. And while my characters first, plot later approach is frustrating now, it'll all work out. For me, anyway.

Do you feel you approach things differently than others? If so, how? If not, why not?



  1. Completely, and it can be so frustrating! I am quick to make decisions and others need time to consider all alternatives. I just want to decide, and move on to the next thing. After all, time is money. But the downside is that sometimes I miss important details that others who take the time to explore each & every possibility will have caught. But, this is just how God made me so...

    But it could be something as simple as ordering food at a restaurant. I look at the menu online before I go, and even if I haven't done that preparation I can still zero in on exactly what I want in a millisecond while others mull over every single menu option, ask the waiter bazillions of questions, ask for substitutions, etc.

    Is that super annoying?

  2. I love getting feedback and approaching things differently. New ideas, changes, I'm open to making my writing better, work, family life, etc. The cool thing is you can apply positive items to anything in your life....Think way outside the box.

  3. I approach things way different than my husband. He worries over everything, including things he has no control over. He always says he wishes he could be more carefree like me. I don't know if that's good or bad.

  4. Try telling the plot of your story to imaginary strangers. Say it aloud. Alone -- you do not want to end up in the rubber room.

    Imagine their reactions. See where your story is fuzzy. Edit and revise to shake them up and startle them, making them laugh along the way. You will find yourself condensing and editing as you go along. It might help. It might not. It's what I do. Roland

  5. I'm so lucky to be in a critique group where we all approach writing, critiquing and editing differently. But the great thing is we all dovetail together and create this fabulous synergy. Different is good :)

  6. Take heart--I got the weak plot verdict this time around, too. Strengthening it has been a bizarre exercise in trying to come up with twisted (albeit higher) stakes. You'll do it! : )


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