Thursday, August 20, 2015

Four types of 'plot' over 'world-building'

I love writing, but I'm more into creating a world: the rules, the characters, how they buck the system. Plot usually comes later and is more difficult for me, oddly.
Honestly, this is what it feels like when I finish a book and realize I've just rewritten Harry Potter.
Also, a very flattering picture of me.
I think it's because I wanted to be a series writer when I was little, and I started reading series books like the Baby-Sitter's Club, Sleepover Friends, the Fabulous Five, etc. I loved the idea of creating characters and having all kinds of adventures to write about with them, but not having to plan them out.

It's fun, but no editor really wants to buy a series unless you've got credit behind your name. Most of the time, you have a better chance with trying to sell a stand-alone book when you're new to professional writing. That kind of puts me in a difficult position, since I'm kind of crappy with plot.

Plot is essential to the book, though; it's important to have one. How do you write a query letter to sell it? How do you explain the book and why it's so great and it would be great to read it? What would be the blurb on the back of the book when it's published? You can't just meander along with the conflict and action of the book.

In high school, I had an English teacher in high school tell me, "There's only four types of conflict out there: man vs man; man vs nature; man vs self; and man vs machine." I take that as pretty consistent with everything I've ever read or tried to write. Sometimes, I've got these fabulous characters and a really cool world, but I don't know exactly what to do with them, so I sort of have to rely on these four conflict types to come up with something.

Which is easier for you? Plot or World-building?

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