Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Are You Lost?

by Katie Hines
Are you lost? Do you know where your work-in-progress is heading, what the end point is? If you don't have a good idea of where you want your story to end, how can you tell if you're headed in the right direction? It is conceivable that you could write oh, 40 or 50 pages, then have to scrap it because you have no further vision for your story.

Now, I know there are writers that are out there that sit down and write, and the story unfolds easily. My writing is not that way. I knew, vaguely, where I wanted my WIP to go, and had an even more vague end in sight. But how to get there from the beginning?

Help was on the way.

Yesterday, my husband and I sat down and talked about the story. We tossed out ideas, possible plot points, a more focused ending. I came away from our brainstorming session revitalized, and knowing more about my story and my characters. What a relief, because, I tell you, I was stuck. This brainstorming means I have to go back and change a few plot points that I've already written.

I know that some people say to brazen your way through your story, and make changes later. That doesn't work for me. This is the reason: if my plot points changes the direction of my story, and plot points pop up, then I need to make the changes in the middle for my story to head in the right direction. Think of your story as the vanishing point. In geometry (I know, you thought you'd never use it, didn't you?), if you have two points that begin at the same point, then take the first a line straight out from there, with a slight angle, then add the second point, but veer off a miniscule amount from the other line. When you follow the lines out, even though they are close at the beginning, the further out you get, the more those lines deviate.

This works the same way as your story. If you don't get the first plot points right, then your story is going to veer off, down the road, in a direction you don't want it to go. Thus, I change those first plot points to keep my story on track.

So, check yourself. Are you lost, or do your plot points take you down a road in a direction that will ultimately be far from your end goal? Don't be lost! Make those changes today.


  1. I'm definitely lost in my latest WIP, but I think that's just because it's been put on the back burner for so long. Great post, Katie. TY!

  2. Katie,
    I think I have to have a more focused plan also. Thanks for showing how writing and geometry are related. Loved it!

  3. Katie, I love the geometry analogy. I'm usually a seat-of-the-pants writer, but I think having an outline may help with the focus, plot points, and direction of the story.

  4. Helpful post, Katie, thanks! I always seem to get muddled in the middle no matter how much I plan it all out.