When we begin writing, we have this core idea, this main plot that keeps the story together. But as we get deeper into subplots and secondary/tertiary characters, sometimes we lose our main idea. We obsess over the little things. We forget the forest for the trees. We see the colors but not the rainbow. I could go on, but I won’t, for your sake. The following series of three entries will focus on Mike Phillips’s essay showing how he keeps his plot in line, with his hints on how to help you stay focused.
Article found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/getwriting/module27p
Losing the Plot?
by Mike Phillips
New Ideas from Old
Plots are always based on a story of some kind, and there are only a limited number of basic stories in any culture. Boy meets girl, for instance, or the eternal love triangle. Look hard enough at any story and you will always find the fingerprints of an earlier one.
My own first novel, Blood Rights, was based on a reworking of the story of Oedipus – boy meets dad, kills him and marries mum. This is a fairly unusual family crisis but, in principle, most plots draw on stories which have universal and familiar themes, both within history and for our own times. Exploring and developing stories of this kind is a reliable and interesting way of starting to construct a plot.
Exactly how you go about doing this is a matter of individual temperament. I have sometimes found that it requires nothing more than the impulse to get something down on paper, rather than having planned it out meticulously before I pick up a pen.Read More →