Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Plotting Ways

I think everyone before me this week covered plotting quite well. So when I sat down to think about the angle of my post, I was left with a blank. Jay talked about writing by the seat of his pants! J.A. likened her plotting to old maritime maps. Liz talked about her plotting rituals.

And then I noticed a theme. Everyone talked about his or her plotting ways. So, here, in pictures, is how I tackle plotting.

As you can see, I am all sorts of productive when I'm plotting. 

But to be serious (me? serious?), I've written a novel by outline and by the seat-of-my-pants. I prefer the latter, only because, as Jay said, it's more exciting and it leaves the door open for new scenes, or characters, or subplots. BUT...I have reached 20,000 words on a manuscript only to realize I have no idea what happens next. That's frustrating. I'm like a big yellow lab when it comes to focusing. It takes me all of two seconds to lose interest. If I let that book sit for a few days, by then I have a new idea for a new and better book and then I'm off running again. So an outline keeps me focused and I've found that never, not once, have I followed an outline exactly as it was written. I still find room for spontaneity. So, the best of both worlds, I guess?

Jennifer Rush is the author of ALTERED coming Fall 2012 from Little, Brown. Check out her blog for news and updates. 


  1. Ha! That could have been me and my husband too. Though it was the shower instead of the bath for me.

  2. Ah! The time suck that is Project Runway!

  3. This is great, Jennifer. I totally bathtub "plot" too : )

  4. Lenore --- I'm usually the shower too, but I couldn't find a good shower pic! :(

    Liz --- I seriously cannot get enough of Project Runway. Or HGTV's Design Star. More! More!

    Veronica --- :D The plotting excuse is universal. I think you can use it just about anywhere!

  5. The bathtub thing is totally true! One of my old copywriter bosses used to swear by Conceptualizing in the Tub.

  6. I do loads of plotting while I'm going to sleep! I often run previous scenes in my head like I'm watching a film and then see what happens next. Or fill in plot holes I haven't figured out yet. Love the pics!