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blog The Waypoint Writer — A Flexible Way to Plan a Story

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Chessie2, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Chessie2 submitted a new blog post:

    The Waypoint Writer — A Flexible Way to Plan a Story
    by Rose Andrews

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    There’s one thing about the Mythic Scribes writing forums that I appreciate: the thought provoking discussions on the craft of writing. These are my favorite because they not only get me thinking about my process, but I also pick up a few tricks other writers share as well. I learn new terms too, like waypoint writer. This term was used by another member to describe the way I write my stories. It was interesting to have someone else label this for me.

    Since that discussion, I’ve come across other writers who also create this way. So what is a waypoint writer?

    Somewhere Between Pantsing and Outlining

    Before I was a waypoint writer, I was a pantser. The definition of pantser varies, but for the purpose of this piece, a pantser is a writer who begins a new story knowing very little about what they are writing and they write by the seat of their pants to the end. An outliner is a writer who creates an outline (regardless the amount of detail) before they start writing their story, knowing start, end, and finish.

    As a pantser, I struggled with plot, conflict, and having a cohesive story. But I was always able to finish my work.

    However, I got sick of my stories meandering and not escalating properly. So I decided to study outlining. I...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
     
  2. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    Do you plan a plot point as "and then X happens" or as "something has to happen that serves the function X"?
     
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  3. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Great question! It's totally the latter (I don't really plan anything). I start writing when I have a decent impression of how to introduce the heroes and their conflict(s). By the time I start reaching more plot points the characters and story have already started spinning, so I approach the plot points with more knowledge as to what should occur.
     
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  4. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    You could certainly give it a try! The plot points work to keep the story structured so if you believe you're missing that very thing (which is why you would outline) then having them in might be a less intense approach. Good luck!
     
  5. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Melody, thanks for sharing your process. It sounds similar to what the article describes, too (wanderlust can be exciting though)!
     
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  6. L. Blades

    L. Blades Dreamer

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    I don't think I would fit into either the 'pantser' or 'outliner' categories, so that leaves me somewhere else:

    I found much of my work can be written when not doing the writing; that is, while doing other tasks, whatever it may be, I think of things I want to include in my work. This could be something simple, or complicated, such as a scene, some dialogue, a character, or even a progression of the plot, and then I note it down before I forget it. In my case I write fantasy-parody, so I usually think of something funny, something random, that I then want so include Somewhere in my book.

    By the time I get back to writing, I'm working with a whole bunch of materials I've come up with, a bag of stuff that I can pick and place where and when I see fit. I find it best to think of the lessons (if any) or the feelings/thoughts I want the reader to feel when writing a passage, and by incorporating that I find the next part is written easier. Sure, if you really don't know what to write next 'pants' it, but just focus on the next goal, the next milestone, and think of how and what your characters are going to need to do to get there.
     
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  7. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Isn't it fun finding a process that works for you and is malleable? Even after years of tinkering? I also studied Story Grid and it helped me understand plot structure a whole better. But I agree that I can't write that way either! Thank you for sharing your experience and growth regarding process. Finding out what doesn't work accelerates our learning to a whole new level. Happy writing!
     
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  8. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Yes! So much of our writing happens off-page! Focusing on the next milestone is such an efficient and simple way of focusing on the story in little chunks at a time!
     
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  9. Holman

    Holman Minstrel

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    An interesting read, I disappeared from the forums for a few months (OK nearly 8 months) to try and plan my work in progress fully. I got stuck in a world building hole, and couldn't write my way out of it, so took on board the story grid process - which actually helped a great deal - I use a spreadsheet to plot and record the various parts of my WiP. However, I tend to pants the bits in between working towards a fixed point that I know needs to happen, I have been refining the plot points down to chapter arcs - which I guess are the waypoints that you identify.

    Finishing the story I think is the challenge, and where I used to meander, and fail to finish, I now have targets to hit and (self-imposed) deadlines to hit those targets I am getting closer to completing a work for the first time ever. So waypoints are I think the way to go for me - although I think my outlines may be a bit more detailed than what you are suggesting you do.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
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  10. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Oh, spreadsheets are nice. :) You're welcome and I'm glad you liked the post. Best of luck on finishing your project!
     
  11. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    You are very welcome. I hope it helps!
     
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