Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Thief and Plot

I have started reading The Thief to my younger brothers. Somehow I thought it would be more fun to watch someone else's reaction all the way to the end while I look for all the little clues of what I know is coming. The clues are so well hidden too. They're there so when the surprise comes its believable but then every time one is mentioned there is something else that seems more important at the time. It also helps that the reader has no idea that they need to be looking for clues. Not idea at all.

Megan Whelan Turner is vicious. I know a lot of writing books and people with helpful advise will say it is cheating to withhold that kind of information from a reader but I have also never talked to anyone who has read this book and didn't love it --surprise ending and all. It can be done. It's not my style --or at least I'm not ready to try that kind of plotting but, in the hands of a master it can be done.

Nothing in writing is definite.

In my own writing I have recently turned into a plot addict. I know I've plotted more than four books in the last month. I'm stalling. I know I am. I'm doing whatever I can to avoid the work of editing --but I also hope that this particular form of stalling may help me out later on.

My last book --the one I'm avoiding having to edit --I hardly plotted at all. Or at least my plot sheets were something more like a list/time line in which sentences like "fighting and stuff happens here" appear between the more major points which more more along the lines of "somehow she finds out that. . .". I do not regret this. In many ways my manuscript would not have become what it is if I had everything laid out for myself. The constant going back and forth from beginning to middle to end, back to middle is what --for me at least --makes my story have texture and there are a lot of connections and parallels I wouldn't have made without using that method. On the other hand --yes Teviar, there is another hand -- editing would be a lot easier if I had some sort of guide in hand or I might not have so much editing to do --storywise at least --if I had followed some sort of course a little more closely.

Thus, I keep plotting along pretty much every idea I've ever had for a book. I know that when/if I sid down to actually write these there will be bits of the story I hadn't anticipated that I might follow off course and research that will put major holes in them but --who says I can't revise a plot? Nothing is set in stone (one of the things I love most about writing) but --I am hoping -- a snapshot of the story and where it is leading will help me to know where to trim. Or better yet where to stop writing so I don't have to cut out a scene I really loved later on.


  1. Oh yes, and only twenty One days to go!

  2. THE THIEF is such a crafty novel -- I'm in awe of Megan Whalen Turner's ability. Have you read the rest of the series? :)