Thursday, September 07, 2006

Plot and the Art of Swashbuckling

Dear Dead Beat,
I tend to map out my plot in advance. Other writer’s I know begin without such an outline? Which do you think is the best approach?

Dear Cartographer,
There is no right or wrong. Both paths are fraught with dangers. Dead Beat himself, being a bit of a swashbuckler, likes to dive on in unaided by charts.
Here’s my thinking. If we plot out the story too much in advance, it leaves little room for exploration. And without exploration, there can be no discovery. And this is what we are after.

If we head in with the germ of an idea, then we will be faced with many different paths to choose from. We may even have to cut a few of our own. We may get lost and never find our way out. But good explorers take note of their surroundings, create maps as they move along.

Either method is good as long as we keep these thoughts in mind. Be willing to change from the outline you began with. When some interesting road appears, travel down it a ways and see where it leads to. Be brave in the dark.

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