If I wanted to write something when I was younger, I would simply sit down and write it. No real thought process would be involved, I’d jut write. As I mostly wrote short stories, this approach worked well.
Then, I discovered National Novel Writing Month. I learned about NaNoWriMo roughly ten days before it started in 2002, and figured it was no big deal. On November 1 that year, I sat down and started writing a (very bad) novel manuscript. I won that year, too. The next year, I decided to try my hand at plotting out my novel ahead of time. So many fellow WriMos swore by it, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. I randomly worked on an outline for my novel, tweaking it several times before November rolled around. I’m still working on that novel, actually.
These days, I keep a section of EverNote for writing notes. I don’t plan so much as I keep track of ideas I get. I do actually have outlines for a couple of pieces, but most pieces are generated out of nothing but a handful of notes. I’ve also now started using Writer’s Cafe, which doesn’t seem to offer the same ability to organize as EverNote dows (understandable since they’re designed for different uses).
I feel a bit like I combine all sorts of techniques to develop plots (or attempts at plot, as the case often is).
Over the weekend, I was catching up on my Bloglines reading, and read two articles on developing plot that I found rather interesting. Both talk about character development as plot. This isn’t to say that you can build a story on trying to show what kind of person a character is. This is more about creating a conflict in developing the character that can then be used to draw a story around them. I actually used this technique last summer to create a short story that i’m still working on editing. In fact, this idea of personal conflict within the character actually drove the development of the outline for the novel I’m still working on.
One woulkd think this might be an indication that this type of story development isn’t right for me, but I could definitely see how it might work for others. I think that might be because the approach feels more organic, more like how natural life progresses. It’s definitely worth a thought!