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Plot is not everything!

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I have about ten unfinished novels on my computer, some of which I've been working on for a decade or more. Each of them has its own challenges, but all have this is common: I have not written a plot outline for any of them.


My lack of interest in outlining plots used to bother me, leading to an impasse that essentially stopped my writing altogether. I felt guilty to keep writing beyond about 10,000 words without a plot, thinking that I was asking for trouble later on. All those characters and strands of narrative would never amount to a book without a firm plot.

Luckily, Stephen King, in his book On Writing, has set my mind at ease and given me the green light to keep writing the same way I always do--as the characters and situation express themselves to me.


King decrees that plot, as an element of writing a novel, is a bully who will wreck my work if I let him. Plot is not something apart from the narrative, a kind of rigid framework that must be in place to hold it all together…