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Monday, May 31, 2010

Situation vs Plot

Hello Fellow Writers!

Yesterday I spent several enjoyable hours hanging out with my writing buddies at Panera while adding another 2000 words to my WIP "Chastity Belt". My plan right now is to get the book written as quickly as possible so that I can then pull out my figurative red pen and start my favorite process of all: revisions!

One fellow writer, Rebecca, was saying how she is having a hard time coming up with a plot. I told her about how Stephen King is pretty anti-plot - he prefers to focus on characters in a situation, and to let the story move from there.

In his book "On Writing" (which, by the way, I highly recommend to anyone who either loves Stephen King or loves to write), he says:
I won't try to convince you that I've never plotted any more than I'd try to convince you that I've never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible. I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren't compatible.
A strong enough situation renders the whole question of plot moot. The most interesting situations can usually be expressed as a What-if question:
What if vampires invaded a small New England village? (Salem's Lot).
What if a young mother and her son became trapped in their stalled car by a rabid dog? (Cujo).
These were situations which occurred to me - while showering, while driving, while taking my daily walk - and which I eventually turned into books. In no case were they plotted, not even to the extent of a single note jotted on a single piece of scrap paper.
I love the book "On Writing" because I love having the opportunity to get into King's head. Some people say he's 'just' a horror writer, but I say he's a genius!
Today is Memorial Day (thank you to the men and women who have sacrificed to keep our country safe!). My hubby has the day off and the weather is beautiful, so we're going to spend the day on the dock and in the lake. I may bring my laptop down and try to get some writing done, or I may not. We'll see.

Oh, and did I mention that I submitted my second book to Ellora's Cave? Fingers crossed!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers


  1. Shana, Good luck with the second story. I'm a plot person, sort of. I do plan my stories before I start and then I sit down and write. If there are changes in the original plot doesn't bother me and I make sure they're not just a detour that means nothing. Change is part of life and one can't hold onto a plot if it's going awry.

  2. I LOVE Stephen King's book On Writing. Shana, you should think of writing something for the newesletter, maybe a writing book review. Everyone would love it!

  3. Thanks ladies! Jennifer, that's a good idea, let me see what I can come up with!

  4. Hi Shana!
    Good luck with the submission! Can't wait to read your book review! Turns out I won't make it to Saturday's HVRWA luncheon. I have tickets to see James Taylor over at Mohegan Sun and my husband and I decided to make a day of it. Hopefully we'll meet up sometime, maybe at Panera some weekend??? When you have a minute, it'd be great if you'd stop by my blog.

  5. James Taylor, I'm so jealous! Have fun! I probably won't be at Fishkill Panera this weekend because I have a wedding to go to, but I'm usually there every other weekend on Sundays. I checked out your blog Wendy, mazel tov on your daughter's upcoming bat mitzvah!


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