Emanuel Church has a donate button on their website, if you'd like to help.

See also the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund

 

 

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Two plotlines diverged in the woods...

  1. #1
    Takiran Code Scholar breaking_burgundy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    538

    Two plotlines diverged in the woods...

    Have you ever had an issue when you had to choose between two slightly different plot/subplot arcs or writing a particular scene two different ways?

    Without having a fully complete novel, how do you know which one will work best for your story? Should I just write both versions of this scene and see which I like better?

  2. #2
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    6,863
    Quote Originally Posted by breaking_burgundy View Post
    Have you ever had an issue when you had to choose between two slightly different plot/subplot arcs or writing a particular scene two different ways?

    Without having a fully complete novel, how do you know which one will work best for your story? Should I just write both versions of this scene and see which I like better?
    EVERY TIME ALWAYS

    Sorry for yelling, but this is essentially my biggest writing 'issue' or even 'quirk'

    I take it to such extremes that I generally have two version of each MS. So yeah, I definitely write both. And then sometimes I still can figure out which is better. But most of the time I can. Sure it's annoying to scrap so much work, but often you won't know it's totally lame until it's on the page.

  3. #3
    I have an MS I've re-written three times simply because I couldn't figure out which POV to write it in. I've also taken several plotlines out of it and just simplified it down.

    And I have another MS I've just stopped working on because it's hurting my head. I've written it de-linearnly, linearly, made the MC asexual, then bisexual, given him a gun, taken the gun away and replaced it with a bomb.

    Just rewrite both and see which version people like most. That's worked for me.

  4. #4
    Takiran Code Scholar breaking_burgundy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    538
    It's not the first time I've had this problem, but usually I manage to choose one based on a) what are the characters most likely to do, b) which version has more tension/drama, c) which version is "tighter."

    The problem with this scene is that I can make it from two potential POVs (MC vs New Character). I like the New Character one better, but then I don't get to show a certain dialogue exchange between MC and other characters in this scene.

  5. #5
    we're gonna make it out of the fire The_Ink_Goddess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    England
    Posts
    2,032
    Quote Originally Posted by missesdash View Post
    EVERY TIME ALWAYS

    Sorry for yelling, but this is essentially my biggest writing 'issue' or even 'quirk'

    I take it to such extremes that I generally have two version of each MS. So yeah, I definitely write both. And then sometimes I still can figure out which is better. But most of the time I can. Sure it's annoying to scrap so much work, but often you won't know it's totally lame until it's on the page.
    This is me.

    This is always me.

    It's also made worse by the fact that I find it generally impossible to crit my own work on a broad scale (I can do the "this sentence is clumsy" part, but the "does this plot point drag on too long?" and "is this ending plausible?" part totally eludes me - like the broader scale of the MS). I always Frankenstein my ideas together and then wonder if I should let one stand as is. And I hate scrapping tons of work - doesn't everybody?
    --Beth.

    When not crying, sleeping, writing or studying, I tweet here

    How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
    - A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Washington, D.C.
    Posts
    46
    I have had so many doubts about the best way to do this MS. I've already resigned myself to changing the setting, but at different times I've considered switching from 3rd person to 1st person, changing my contemporary fantasy to an epic fantasy... but eventually I figured I need to finish the version I have, rewrite the parts I know need rewriting and see if it will work as is, otherwise I'll just have a thousand partially finished shitty versions instead of one maybe decent one.

  7. #7
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    2,633
    Often you have to pass the scene to figure out how it will fit the work better. You may not know which to use until you've written the end of the novel and can look back at the context around that scene. You could write it from both POVs or use a place holder (outline of the action or some such) and come back to it. I'd probably write both and see if I found myself referring back to one version or the other more as I continued on.

  8. #8
    Takiran Code Scholar breaking_burgundy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    538
    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie V View Post
    Often you have to pass the scene to figure out how it will fit the work better. You may not know which to use until you've written the end of the novel and can look back at the context around that scene. You could write it from both POVs or use a place holder (outline of the action or some such) and come back to it. I'd probably write both and see if I found myself referring back to one version or the other more as I continued on.
    That was the problem: this was a re-write. I had two previously written scenes, and I wasn't sure which to use for this purpose. In the end, I found a way to include both.

  9. #9
    Recovering Canucks Fan Becca C.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Google says 1 hour, 8 minutes north of Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    4,064
    This is the reason I've decided to outline my next WIP a lot more extensively than I've ever outlined anything before.

    I end up with a million different versions of a manuscript and not knowing what parts of what versions are the best. That's where all my writerly angst comes from. I think I need to start outlining like crazy and sorting the plot shit out before it even gets written so I can tell what sucks right away.
    MAYBE IN PARIS - YA contemporary - on sub!!!
    FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN - YA contemporary/maybe thriller - post-beta revisions

    Represented by Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary!



    Facebook - I don't really know what I'm doing there yet
    Twitter - Sometimes I'm funny there

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Moon Daughter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    The Moon
    Posts
    1,803
    I think most of us (maybe even everyone?) have had this problem to an extent. I've rewritten two manuscripts multiple times because I couldn't figure out where to take it. I'm in the process of doing that with my current ms as well. Usually I'll write out a summary of the story to break it down and figure out what works best for the plot.
    GHOST GIRL 62,559 out of 70K!
    SHIVERS 83,000 (trunked)

  11. #11
    starry sunrise Windcutter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    2,053
    There is even the case when you know version A works better, but you like version B so so much. Sigh. I hate scrapping work, so I try to pick up all those branching ideas and make a different book out of them. I also seem to have a plot/set of characters which I'm obsessed with, considering they have shown up in 4 wips so far.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Emmet Cameron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Canada. Probably.
    Posts
    552
    I tend to pick one, start writing, and see how far it gets me. If it leads to lots of exciting and wonderful things that I definitely want in my book, yay. If it doesn't, back to the diverging point and take the other path. Trial and error. I don't think I could do that write-both-then-choose thing. I guess it's functionally the same but for some reason it makes my Libra-decidey-brain implode to imagine choosing between two already written scenarios if neither of them has obviously failed yet.
    * * * * * * * * * * *
    Twitter
    Tumblr

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Hilldawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    158
    I explore both options via brainstorming. I keep a notebook for my novel and every time I get to one of these waypoints, I take the time to scribble notes on both (or more) possibilities. I try not to waste a lot of time writing both out. Writing all possibilities out ups the chances of me becoming even more conflicted (because, yes, its hard to scrap the work). So I stick to notes.

    And once I do decide on a way to go, I don't scratch out or throw away any of my notes on the choice I didn't make. I just hang onto it - those pages stay in my notebook with a small red "x" in the corner. If it turns out I do need to use some of those thoughts later, I still have them. And if I don't, it's still fun to go back and see the progression of my novel. Sometimes you need to be in the tough position of having to choose between two alternatives in order to make the right move.

    Hillary
    HD

  14. #14
    Who rules?! Hyrules! Liosse de Velishaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Second star on the right and on 'til morning.
    Posts
    9,523
    This happens to me often. And many times it's more than just two versions. I don't always write each scene out, but I do two or three if the first one seems like it's not quite working.

    It's kind of a what's in my brain isn't on the page thing, sometimes.

  15. #15
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    2,633
    With my current WIP I started in the wrong place once and in the wrong voice once. The voice change meant redoing three to four chapters. The wrong place one? I wrote the whole manuscript and then figured it out, but I'll have half of book 2 if book one does well (Book one now has 2 protagonists and one isn't in the original draft.)

    Glad you found a way to use both scenes. No writing is ever wasted.

  16. #16
    Hero, villain, angel, demon AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Excellent question
    Posts
    53,671
    Quote Originally Posted by breaking_burgundy View Post
    Have you ever had an issue when you had to choose between two slightly different plot/subplot arcs or writing a particular scene two different ways?

    Without having a fully complete novel, how do you know which one will work best for your story? Should I just write both versions of this scene and see which I like better?
    This can definitely stop me in my tracks when I'm writing and I don't know how a scene should play out and could create wildly different plot arcs. I stress about it for ages, go with one version while telling myself I can always change it if it doesn't work, doubt that version for a long time but never change it, and eventually make something happen in the plot that guarantees that I had to use that route, thus justifying it to myself

    Hero/Villain: Fixing, thanks to betas
    Super/Human: With betas
    Master/Puppet: Ready for betas



    This week, I'm in: Ohio

  17. #17
    That hairy-handed gent
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Who ran amok in Kent
    Posts
    31,119
    Two plotlines diverged in the manuscript,
    And I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference,

    Dammit.

    (apologies to Robert Frost)

    caw
    "Badger! Badger! The weasels have stolen my motor-car!"

    "Frankly, Toad, I don't give a damn."

    -- Gone with the Wind in the Willows

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
    Posts
    9
    it's hard to pick. I tend to go with the more concrete one, the one where I know what will happen in the future. Although I have gone with the less definite one, without knowing where the story would end.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search