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I love that moment where you've been working on a novel for months, you've written two thirds of the draft, and you suddenly get a flash of inspiration which allows you to greatly improve a sub-par subplot. Not only that, you also manage to tie it firmly to the main plot AND foreshadow upcoming events.

This happens to me with every book I write, which is why I'm happy to write chapters and scenes even if the plot isn't quite there. A plot outline should be organic, like a nice green vine, and every author should pack a pair of shears and grafting tape.

Words are free, and you can write as many of them as you want without paying taxes, so bash those scenes out in volume and you never know where you'll end up.

The biggest mistake is to not start writing until the plot is perfect, or to stop writing because you're not sure what should happen next. Write it anyway!


It's so true, and so easy to forget. I don't know why, as humans, we're so afraid of disappointing -ourselves-. What's the worst that could happen? You write something crappy and don't show it to anyone. Nobody ever has to -know-. Not so with a performance art, wherein if you suck you suck in front of people.

But... now I want to work on fiction and not the article that comes due on Friday. :(
I've always been a wasteful writer, but all those unused scenes, chapters, characters and novels can always be mined for ideas when I get stuck.

Right now I'm writing an outline for the subplot from scratch, beginning to end, ignoring the timeline and how things are supposed to fit into the main plot. After all, it's easy to tweak the main plot AND the subplot to get them to fit together.
well said.
Oh yeah...

The first time that happened to me -- breathing life into what had been a near-dead plot strand and tying it firmly into the story like I'd planned it all along, by going back, changing three words, and writing one additional sentence -- was just so darned exciting! :-)