Monday, September 18, 2006

Plot? What plot?

Anyone got a spare one they can lend me? I've been buggering about with characters and sudden twists and evil ex-wives all day and come up with naaaaada.

I hate plots anyway. Maybe it's time I went all post-post-modern and dispensed with the whole idea. This woman keeps bumping into this guy (Oh! My clothes have fallen off!) and shivering with unbearable longing (Ohhhh! My hardening nubs!) and then they have sex. It's erotica, right?

Sigh. I have this hunch that the story has to rise organically from the characters. Quite what that means, I'm not sure. But I'm sticking with it. So the girl has to have a point, and the story has to have an Arc, apparently, and Conflict and a Resolution. I'll keep niggling away and something has to turn up. Because I can't just spend the rest of my life making up ridiculous stories and then deleting them and making up other ones, can I? The sitting room is covered in post its with question marks and starting to look like Will Self's office. But less tidy.

Monkeys, typewriters, etc. Here's hoping.


Alana said...

Hi Nikki,

First of all, thanks for the baby panda. That bug thing was hideous. Haha.

I found an enormous dead spider lying all hunched up and crusty looking right next to my chair at the office this morning. Walked in, set down my coffee, saw a dead spider.

Did I mention the f-ing thing was huge and all pissed off looking? Like maybe it died experiencing a huge fit of anger at the idea it was dying. I don't know.

I'd like to go with a smile on my face. :-) Relaxed. Comfortable. Content. Ready.

Speaking of spiders, when I have nightmares they generally involve one of four things:

My father dying.
Tom Cruise.

OK, about plot. It drives me crazy too. I wouldn't call myself Plot Princess. I could write nothing but character sketches all day. Stream of consciousness. Narrative. You know, when you just have to . . . narrate and don't have to worry about exposition, dialogue, or plot, or ABCCE:


Or something like that. I don't exactly remember. One thing I've found helpful is writing nothing but dialogue between my main character and someone else. Just force him or her to speak, out loud, to another person. When I was in grad school I had a mentor who gave me an assignment in which I was to create nothing but dialogue between two characters for two pages: No tags, no description, no exposition, just dialogue.

I'm not sure what this has to do with plot. And as you can see, this post has no plot either.


wendywoo said...

Oh Nikki, you and me both re. the great plot wrangle! Plot deficit is my biggest weakness writing-wise.

Don't worry though, I'm sure we'll both muddle through somehow... :)

Nikki said...

Alana - I just woke up from a nightmare where I had spiders embedded in me. I think that's instant karma from posting the tick picture. (And I was hoping I'd dream a good erotica plot, not the next Alien film. At least Tom Cruise was nowhere to be seen.)

I might try the dialogue thing, thanks for suggesting. x

Wendy - Raymond Chandler said: 'If in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.' You think I could substitute 'ding-dong' for 'gun' and produce an erotic masterpiece?

Alana said...


I can't believe your nightmare about embedded spiders. That's . . . hideous. Sorry. Not the best way to wake up, huh? I myself prefer to wake up on the end of a climatic sex dream.


Anastasia said...

How about a story from the random events or randomness?

There are times characters can make my mind squeak from exhaustion, so I take a step back.

Nikki said...

Hi Anastasia.

I think the random events work okay for me in a short piece, perhaps, (though subconsciously I don't think stories are really random) but for a novel, I want it all to fit together like a well-crafted piece of furniture. Yes, crafted is the word I'm looking for.

Maybe that's a good idea for an exercise though, as the deeper mind could throw up things that appear random but in fact are relevant...

My head is certainly squeaking, but I believe it might be the sound of things falling into place...