I find comfort in Stephen King’s views on plotting a story: “I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible. A strong enough situation renders the whole question of plot moot. The most interesting situations can usually be expressed as a What-if question.”
In my case the ‘what if’ question I posed in my novel, ‘The Cracked Amulet’, was how would a character deal with life when everything they held dear (lives and beliefs) was taken from them?
For me, the character comes first – strong and well formed. The situation and setting then follows. The character’s actions and reactions within that setting and to those situations then drives the story.
Enid Blyton wrote of her own writing: “It is as if I were watching a story being unfolded on a bright screen. Characters come and go, talk and laugh, things happen to them… the whole story sparkles on my private ‘screen’ inside my head, and I simply put down what I see and hear.
The story comes out complete and whole from beginning to end. I do not have to stop and think for one moment. If I tried to think out or invent the whole book, as some writers do, I could not do it. For one thing it would bore me, and for another it would lack the ‘verve’ and the extraordinary touches and surprising ideas that flood out from my imagination. People in my books make jokes I could never have thought of myself. I am merely a sightseer, a reporter, an interpreter, whatever you like to call me.”
ON the whole I would say this is how I write. I see the characters and get to know them, how they think and what they say. I follow them in their world and write of their adventures. Sometimes I’m as surprised as they by the turn of events.
It’s creative discovery. For me, writing is an adventure.