Monday, October 15, 2012

cat epiphany

I'm a pantser. I've never been much of a planner. And for other aspects in my life, flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants has worked out just fine. But five books later (yes, I've written five horridly puke-worthy books) I'm still not producing anything that's publishable.

My stories tend to meander quite a bit and lack any sort of real tension in the middle. I'm pretty good at figuring out where the fault lies in my writing because I read a lot. Having just took more than three months off writing, it's easy to come back and the areas where I've gone wrong. So very wrong.

Back in the spring I went to LDS storymakers Conference. When I was there Elana Johnson gave a class on plotting. She spoke about the genius-ness of Save the Cat (the how-to plot book for screenwriting). This book will revolutionize your life if you're a budding writer and you tend to write a lot of crap.




The class by Elana Johnson changed my life. Not only can she kick my A when it comes to tennis, but she's also a freaking writing genius. And she's super funny. And I'm a big-ole name-dropper. Elana. Elana. Elana. Elana.

I digress. Back to my point. Plot!
Midpoint, turns, and climax. No more writing with a vague idea, but know where I want it to go. Mind blowing stuff.

PLOT MORE. WRITE CRAP LESS. 


What about you? Any tips on plotting or pantsing?






20 SPLURTS:

Kate said...

I love SAVE THE CAT. I'm definitely a plotter, but I still get soggy middles. Sometimes I'm so excited to get writing that I don't spend enough time crafting my plot. Thanks for reminding me to go back and spend a little bit more time on it :)

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peggy Eddleman said...

Hahaha! PLOT MORE. WRITE CRAP LESS. My new mantra. :)

I <3 Save the Cat. My tip is: use it. Um... that is all.

Tobi Summers said...

This is perhaps my favorite writing advice ever: Plot more. Write crap less.

I too have always been a pantser and, as such, I've written my fair share of crap. Many, many revisions made my last book something I was somewhat proud of, but my problem isn't usually that the end result is bad--it's that I can't even make it to the end result. I get bored because the story has no direction. I'm doing NaNo this year, and I'm working really hard this month to develop an outline so maybe, just maybe, I won't have the same problem in November.

Good luck with your adventures into plotting!

ilima said...

Wasn't Elana amazing? Our little group was so great. And I think it's impossible for you to write horridly puke-worthy books. IMPOSSIBLE. You are such an incredible writer. I do think I'm gonna post "Write Crap Less" on my desk, now. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

I'm gonna go for WRITE LESS CRAP instead of WRITE CRAPLESS...because we all know how I feel about your bathroom humor! How's the deer guts?

Kathryn Purdie said...

I love this book, and I've totally beated-out my WIP. I'd say I'm a wary outliner. Ever since I wrote my, ahem, 65-page outline for my first novel, and then didn't have the motivation to finish it, since I'd "discovered" it already, I'm trying to strike more of a balance--know the major points of the story, but not know EVERYTHING so I actually want to write it!

prerna pickett said...

i had the same issue with my manuscript but then my cp pointed out what it was lacking and i focused all of my attention on fixing the issue and the story is so much stronger for it. Keep going, you'll get there!

David P. King said...

That cat has saved many a writer's lives. I already love your writing, Erin, so if you do plan on planning, I bet the next thing your draft will blow me away. :)

Patti said...

I used to be a big time pantser, but what I saved in time I think spent more in revising later on. With my next novel, I'm trying to plan and am using this book.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Save the Cat is my favorite writing book!

Charlie Holmberg said...

I went to one of her pitching panels--best pitching panel I've ever attended! The girl is a smart cookie.

I really want that book!!

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! I want "PLOT MORE. WRITE CRAP LESS." on a t-shirt. ;) Save the Cat is awesome!

Jeigh said...

Yes, I love this book! In fact, I think I need to pull it out and give myself a little refresher course.

Botanist said...

I need enough of a plot to see where I'm going, but the writing itself keeps taking me by surprise. Best laid plans... :)

Love the succinct advice.

Iain said...

I've just finished plotting my new book with the STC beats. It helped me flesh out a vague plot idea into a fully formed template. The excitement that comes with filling out of each of the beats is incredible. It's given me such a new impetus for writing.
Go for it Erin, I'm sure you will get the mega plot you're looking for :o)

Richard said...

I haven't heard of STC. I'll have to read it.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Ha ha! Your "Elana. Elana. Elana." bit made me laugh out loud. I really need to go to that conference sometime. I'm only a few hours away, and I've heard it's amazing.

As for plotting, Save the Cat is wonderful! You can also find tons of stuff about turning points online.

Emily R. King said...

I'm a plotter, so this book is THE SPOKEN WORD. :D Glad you were brainwashed by another plotter! Bawhahaha!

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