Friday, September 14, 2012

Plotting--How to Go from Predictable to Perfection in Your Storyline

Plot is the most basic outer-story structure your book can have.  Fiction and memoir plots are all about action--what happens, where it happens, who is involved.  It's always external, never inside someone's head.  We see plotted events onstage, in front of us.   

Nonfiction writers also use plot.  Their outer story is about the method or ideas they are delivering.   

Obviously, in both cases, plot that's predictable is boring.  How many books have you picked up where you can foresee the ending so easily it's not even worth reading?  Plots must surprise the reader, and therefore also surprise the writer.  Again, nonfiction writers attend to this too--they have to present their material (their "plot" or outer story) in a way that shows its uniqueness.

Like agents will ask you:  How is your book unique, different, a twist or a surprise?  Plots give you this opportunity.

But most of us stay safe with our plots.  We keep to the knowns rather than venture into material that will surprise.  How do you get out of this rut, as a writer?  How do you stop repeating yourself with predictable plotting?