AJ Reads ‘Plot & Structure’: Introduction

I got the idea from Mark Reads.

I feel like, of late, I’ve not really absorbed the deeper lessons of writing fiction, and maybe taking notes while reading books about writing would help. But at the same time I feel a much deeper commitment about something when I blog about it.

So why not? Especially since I’m in the dregs of NaNoWriMo, when I’m starting to really grok the idea of actually doing the writing and revising later, and also starting to understand the utmost difficulty of bringing things to a finish after watching the plot veer away off the beaten path into, say, a nest of carnivorous alien eels.

It may be a little late in the game to read James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure, but it feels like a book that would be more useful during revision, which my NaNoWriMo project is going to really, really need.

Procrastination! That’s a writerly thing if ever there was one. It might as well be useful procrastination.

But even then… I’ve still got to get my words in, damn it. Because NaNoWriMo says so. Because Bell says so. Because just about all the professional literary agents and editors and writers whom I’ve read say so.

It’s not easy to get the words in (especially after a long Black Friday at the day job). During the last weeks of NaNoWriMo, it gets deucedly hard. This evening I wanted to tweet “@NaNoWriMo Do you have any more pep talks? Brandon Sanderson’s was awesome but I need another hit”, my motivation was so low.

Fortunately, there was the introduction of this book, which Bell entitled “The Big Lie.” It’s appropriate for November, because everything he talks about, about defeating the lie that you can only write if you were born for it, is embodied by NaNoWriMo. Especially everything under “What It Takes to Learn Plot,” which basically is a NaNoWriMo pep talk in everything but name: self-motivation, writing a quota of words every day, first draft versus revision.

I really recommend reading at least the introduction. You can even borrow this book on Kindle.

I have a feeling I’m going to really like Plot & Structure the second time around. I actually didn’t like it the first time, because I couldn’t see the point of all the little concepts he talked about; but now that I’m actually ready to do the writing, I start to see why they can be so useful.

ETA: Got my words in. NaNoWriMo can form life-long habits!