Thursday, September 30, 2010

Walkin' the Dog

(Reposted from New Kids on the Writer's Block.)

I've been struggling with my WIP lately. In my head, the story spins endlessly. When I type it out, the story runs in every direction but the one I first imagined.

What I've found is that it's easy to come up with a story. It's much more difficult to get it out of my head and into a tale that other people would want to read. Desperate to figure out what was wrong with my "baby", I broke down the chapters I've penned and poured over the character worksheets. To my surprise, I found that I don't have a much of a plot. I've developed the internal conflicts but the external conflict is too nebulous to be much of a driving force and thus the story fizzles instead of dazzles. Well, crap, I chastise myself. I've invested all this time in this WIP and all I've been doing is walkin' the dog.

Margie Lawson explains walking the dog, as she learned it from Jameson Cole, as the unnecessary busyness of a scene or chapter. I have a whole lot of stuff going on, but nothing that really matters. What happens in those pages does not deepen the characters or move the story forward. It meanders along with no destination. Well, double crap. My story is on vacation and I need to bring it home. Back to the storyboard I trudge.

I think of Jennieke's post The Importance of Plot and Julie's post Plotter, Panster or Planner. I've learned that my plot "planning" needs a lot of work. The things that I need to pay more attention to, the story and character goals and external conflicts, not just the HEA. After all, the story is about how the hero and heroine get to their HEA, not walking the dog along the way.

~kristal lee

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Lynn said...

Walking the dog... For me, it's making coffee. Everyone makes/drinks coffee in my stories.

But do my scenes move the story? It's an interesting question to hold in your mind while editing.

Great post.
October 1, 2010 8:13 PM

Total Pageviews