What's the Plan Again?
I’ve talked about James Scott Bell’s LOCK system before and how it’s a fantastic way to plan your story from the 30,000-foot level (or 9,144-metre level for my foreign friends who turn their noses up at the Imperials).
Let’s say you’ve spent a considerable amount of time putting your story summary together. With that behind you, you then get sucked into the world of first and second drafts where, oh my, you discover your robot protagonist was human all along. This changes everything and you wind up stuck, trying to figure out just how to make the story cohesive again.
Why is my story suddenly a jumbled mess now? It was so well planned in the beginning.
At some point, you throw your hands up in frustration and decide the writing time is better spent cleaning up your office.
“What’s this?” you say, coming upon a crumpled Post-it® note. “Oh! It’s that long lost summary that outlined things so nicely.”
Before you make any rash decisions and reach for a lighter, take that Post-it® in one hand and your current draft in the other. You have a decision to make:
1. Stick to the original plan and cut all of those “new and exciting ideas” you discovered.
Your initial plan was brilliant and those side trips you took in your drafts, mere whims that never really contributed anything. You knew what you wanted to say a couple of weeks ago and your brain took you on a detour.
In this case, it’s probably best to get back on the original track and save those detours in another file. They may come in handy for a future story.
2. Revise the original plan based on those same new and exciting ideas.
Wow! The villain with a wig fetish really is better then my old cardboard cutout bad guy.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve discovered more about what you really wanted to say after the first couple of drafts and, therefore, this is the better choice. You just need to take these new ideas into account and start the LOCK process (or whatever you use) over again. This will put things back together in your mind and once again, you’ll have focus.
Does this ever happen to you guys? How do you usually deal with it?