I’ve been fixing up the How To Think Sideways website for the past couple weeks; reformatting, relinking and in a couple of cases revising old products from my shop to put on my new shop, and otherwise doing lots of Working Very Hard While Not Writing, which is what I have always done when I’ve hit a snag.
I hit the snag in World Clinic when I got to Part Two.
Part One, the critical core of worldbuilding for writers, flew. It was fun and glorious every day I worked on it.
But I got about ten pages into Part Two, which is how you actually use all the OTHER stuff, all the stuff people THINK is worldbuilding…
…and hit the “You’re doing it wrong,” wall.
I got my first inkling to day (while taking a shower, of course) of HOW I’m doing it wrong. So that’s good.
Still haven’t figured out how to do it right yet, though.
I’ll only lose about ten pages. But I’m going to have to let it sit a little longer until my Muse and I can get the whole do-it-right part ironed out.
In the meantime, navigation and the product line on How to Think Sideways will benefit.
Love reading your clinical books on writing. I know that they will help me through my project that I started over a year ago. Thanks:)
Yes, it belongs to a different era.
Watch any of the B&W movies of the pre-war era, not just the ‘silents’ but things like the Ealing Comedies. Even later ones like ‘The Thin Man’ and ‘The Glass key’ and other Dashell Hammet Greats seem hokey today.
Its even worse for adverts from our childhood and before, they seem so naive.
Well we’ve become more sophisticated.
“Columbo” may be tedoius now but as you say, in memory its still golden.
My point though was the three tellings.
How about Agatha Christie. There you have all the classic plots of a mystery. I re-read a few last year and was bored to tears. I fee sorry for the people who have to read them as course in writing and “How to Construct a Plot”.
Had the same problem recently. Couldn’t, wouldn’t write in a boat or with a goat, in a house or with a mouse. Finally figured out the scene I was writing was boring and had no meaning. Tossed! Sad, but refreshing.
There’s an old adage about writing essays: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you’ve told them”. I don’t recommend it for speeches and magazine articles. I use a variation on that for almost all my writing and presentations, though, I plan using a mind-map. Go google. The map might not make it to the end product, but its a great up-front design tool, especially for things like web sites and essays and … stories.
I never think of it as a ‘plot’ so much and controlling and ordering the sequence of scenes. Only I don’t think of them as ‘scenes’ so much as “points I want to make” or “things I want to say”.
What we have here is about where you want to go and what you want to say along the way. In that, designing a web site, a presentation, course material, a textbook or whatever … Calling it a “Plot” is limiting how you think of it, but it comes down to the same thing. If learning is an adventure then its just as much an adventure as reading a novel.
The same strengths and flaws apply.
I do more presentations and reports and its just as important that I don’t bore my audience as when you write a novel. The big difference is attention span. I have to be succinct. I can’t imagine me writing a 30,000 word novel. I can’t imagine writing as much as some of the short stories or novelettes I read in magazines. “Succinct” is a long word – “short” is better; in business at least.
But yes, mind-maps are a great planning tool. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.
Never try that (tell ’em what you’re going to tell them, tell ’em, tell them what you told ’em) with fiction. 😀 Your readers will kill you.
Oh I don’t know. The TV series “Columbo” with Peter Falk worked that way. It started by telling you who the murderer was; the plot was Columbo discovering who the murderer was and the final scene was the ‘take-down’ where the murderer is identified, be it arrested, forced to confess or commits suicide.
I’m sure if I was pressed I could find other similar tropes. Very obviously this was the “Antagonist POV” type of story; sometimes the villains were very sympathetic characters.
Well, OK, I’ll grant you – that was TV not written fiction …
Not what I’d use as an example. We recently rewatched parts of the series that I remembered so fondly from my childhood—and it was dreadful. Mind-numblingly dull. I was so disappointed. I remembered it being clever and witty.
The point of Columbo was not solving the crime, it was the mental duel between the killer and Columbo. I always got the feeling that Columbo knew who the killer was right from the off, he just had to prove it.