Throwing the Plot Out

So you know how I love plots? There’s a secondary thing I have to mention about that.

See, there comes a time when I’m writing that the plot, great as it is, doesn’t work anymore. The characters have become people rather than vague memories of people I knew once that I’ve placed into the story as stick figures to dance at my every whim. When that happens, events start to unfold differently and, a lot of the time, it means that the original plan no longer works.

Then I throw out the plot.

And that’s totally fine. ((For me, anyway)) By that time, I’ve usually gotten to the point in the story that I already know what my characters are like and what they would do in any given situation. Not only that, but I’m also very familiar with how the antagonists will move as well, so the rest of it comes together in a secondary, on the fly sort of replacement plot to follow instead. One that is this time informed by what the characters are actually like and not what I think they will end up like.

I try very hard not to get attached to those original endings.1 In doing so, I don’t really mind when something changes drastically and I can make it all work out in the end. It’s not like the original ending is going to waste,2 it just means that it doesn’t work here. And so it’s totally fine to let those endings go away and be replaced by something that’s more fitting for the characters that the story actually churned out.

In the end, it makes for a better story. I love plots, I really do, but sometimes you just have to know when to let that plot go. If it doesn’t work anymore and you have another idea that’s really good, you can always toss out the original and go with the new one. In fact, you should probably do that. If it doesn’t work out, your original plot will still be there3  and you can go back to it if you need to.

  1. A lot more people would be dead if I were []
  2. If I like it, I can always use it somewhere else, and I have! []
  3. Don’t set it on fire or anything, just put it off to the side after throwing it dramatically in the air []