I don’t write fast enough, that’s all there is to it. I’m halfway through one book, a quarter of the way through another, have outlines and notes for at least three more, and now have more unresolved plot bunnies than ever before. And the worst thing about it is that they are absolutely useless for incorporating into the Works In Progress.
I have a tough time with plotting. Characters—no problem. Dialogue—bring it on. Settings, descriptions, research—I’m right there. Plots… oy vey iz mir. My plot bunnies tend to be vague ideas for a story involving characters that I love (“Let’s put them in such and such an impossible situation and see what they do!”) but when it comes to actually plotting out the scope of the story—hopeless. I could never write a mystery or thriller, because it requires the verb to plot.
Not just plot, but intricate plotting. Setting timing and dropping hints and twisting the story around so that you end up precisely at the point you need to be. It’s not how I write. I throw the characters into the deep end and see how they want the story to go. Seriously, it’s a crapshoot. And given that I am totally not a multiple-draft kind of writer, it really is up to the characters to tell the story in their own way. They’ll take over anyway; might as well let them.
For example: Finding Zach? Had a completely different ending mapped out in my mind involving David’s art, a scar, and a tattoo. The characters had other ideas, and the tattoo never saw the light of day.
If it’s a short piece, it’s different. In those cases it’s usually the end I write first, or at least I’ll have a good idea what the end will be. Since there’s not a lot of time for character development, short stories have to have a plot, but size constraints mean that the plot will be fairly simple. I can do simple. It’s maintaining plot for the length of a full-sized book that’s the hard part.
So right now, I have this story I’m working on, with a whole bunch of characters that I love, and vaguely ahead is some kidnapping plot, or maybe a custody battle, or something… something…
And in the meantime, my characters are all talking nineteen to the dozen in my head and making me crazy because I can’t write fast enough for them. They all want their happy endings. They all want their resolution. They all want their climax (in more ways than one) and their denouements. They’re all yelling at once and it’s making me crazy.
So shut up, John and Nick and the rest of you. You’ll get your say, sooner or later. I can only write so fast!