Writing is SO Weird: Plotting

I’m working on the plot for book 1 of my new project.  It’s going to be an Epic Space Opera, and while book 1 has a clear plot that is finished at the end, but the overarching story goes on for at least two more books.

Anyway, I have 23 chapters of story worked out.  It isn’t enough.  I’ve been wrestling with this, because there are clear holes in the story–not so much plot holes as discrepancies between the story-as-plotted and the story-I-want-to-tell.  For example, while the T’lari Alliance is part of the story notes, and that government has an agent who is a POV character according to my notes–the character wasn’t in a single chapter of my outline.

So today, driving to pick my daughter up, I realized I could change something in the last few chapters, and have a much stronger story.  But doing that would mean changing some things earlier in the book–things like character motivations, as well as what a particular character knows in the early part of the book.  And that change would necessitate even more changes, some of them to the basic bedrock of the plot

But in exchange for that effort, which fortunately isn’t that great, since all I have right now is outline notes, the plot makes more sense.

And even better, I have a place for the alien agent.  And a storyline for her that dovetails with two other characters, and their storyline dovetails with yet another character in a much more believable way, and oh right, now I have a rebellion against the guys who staged the coup in the first place, led by a presumed-dead Prince and a pissed-off Admiral, and supported by the villain’s own son.

Much more interesting.

Writing can be like that–often a change in one place makes another change necessary. And sometimes it’s like a hall of dominoes going down, one after the other, and leaving a much nicer picture in their place.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish this plot outline before I lose it.

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About Michael Johnston

Father of a fifth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Forty-six years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA
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2 Responses to Writing is SO Weird: Plotting

  1. Tyler says:

    Ever thought of making it a full rock opera? Play writing is obviously a different feel but you did say opera and I was intrigued. I mean, Bradbury turned Fahrenheit 451 into an opera. I wouldn’t claim it was great but it was certainly new.

  2. Yeah, no. “Space Opera” is a genre of Science Fiction; I have no intention and no talent at writing music.

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