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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Weaving the Plot

So, there's plotting, and then there's wringing hands and cackling nefariously as ideas hatch into evil little plans.

Guess which one I'm doing.

The problem with nefarious cackling is that there's no real design to it. Short bursts of brilliance (or something bright and shiny, at least) rather than a sustained, logical progression of ideas.

I've resorted to note cards. Something I've never done with success before - it feels too methodical and organized, concepts to which my brain has a natural aversion. I think it would be much more natural to think of my story as something woven - like finger-knitting, perhaps.

(There's a long story involving four bored girl-cousins at Grandma's house, several skeins of yarn, a long, dirt, U-shaped driveway, and a great-uncle's birthday, to which I will not subject you. Suffice to say, I know finger-knitting).

Each strand of this plot that I'm working on should be yarn of a different color and texture than the others. My knitting friends (the fact that I have knitting friends delights and baffles me to no end) can appreciate my attraction to this idea, theoretical though it may be. The longest strand that begins and ends the weaving is, of course, Saira's journey. What color should that be? Maybe a fiery orange natural fiber - strong, with a surprising bit of softness - that can dominate when it needs to, compliment most others, and clash with a few.

Then there's the Archer strand. The Monger strand. The mixed-bloods and Shifter strands. And a few others I'm not going to talk about because they're still so bright and shiny that I don't want to share yet. *Nefarious cackle and hand-wring*

So, my first challenge is to name the strands and decide on their color and texture. I think that's what the note cards are. And now I have to find the places to knit and weave those plot lines together, so none of them break, none of them tangle, and in the end I have a story that's a riot of color and texture, that's as interesting to feel as it is striking to look at.

As much fun as nefarious cackling can be, it's unsettling to have ideas without the design of a well-woven plan. So here's my plan - write the first scene, and like the best movies, open with a bang. Then line all my strands up, pick one, and start weaving from there...