Part 1: Let’s discuss PLOT.
The next posts will be in I think 3 to 5 parts on the important elements of the short story. I’m doing it in parts because I felt that it would be too long a post not to break it up.
I am a Short Story writer. So I spend a lot of my time thinking about ideas for short stories and how the Short Story is an important part of Literature. I am forever learning and discovering the inner workings of the short story. And I often wonder if I have a good grasp on it. Sometimes I think I do and sometimes not so much, usually when I’m feeling stuck and can’t figure out how to keep my story moving along.
Sometimes writing, whether it be a short story or a novel, it can be overwhelming. When I first started out putting my story done on paper I had no idea what I was doing. I had no structure to help me along. I didn’t make an outline or use a plot board. I had an idea and I just sat down with it and wrote it out, from beginning to end. I did that for a long time and it was always frustrating as hell. But It seemed to work for me at the time.
Those were the early days. I’ve grown as a writer since and I like to think that my writing has matured, that I’ve developed and honed my writing skills along the way. I didn’t do it on my own. I read everything I could get my hands on. I took lots of creative writing classes and English Literature class is college. In college I joined the writers group. And after college I kept reading and learning and writing. I pushed myself to do better. I read all kinds of stuff about the craft of writing and I still do.
I am always asking myself, what is the PLOT of the story? The plot is the events or scenes that take place in the story. When we create a PLOT OUTLINE we are tracking the events in the order we need them to happen in. I use to think that you had to know all the events before hand. I don’t know why I thought that but I did and I just didn’t bother with the outline. Now that I know that it’s okay to not know every little detail before I start a story I have a much easier time. The PLOT BOARD helps me to see my story’s time line in the flesh so to speak. I can add to it or move events/ scenes around as I need too.
The Plot Board has given me a way to explore my story outside of it. I can try different ideas for events/ scenes within the board and if I feel that it doesn’t add to my story, or if it hinders my characters in their process of overcoming the stories conflict, then out it goes. This has been a helpful tool. And there are all kinds of ways to go about it. So if you do something different no worries.
Come back to read more about Reflection on the Short Story Part 2.