Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh Plot, Where Art Thou???

How was everyone's Fourth of July?

My 4th weekend changes every year. Since Indian weddings tend to be multiple day affairs, the 4th of July tends to be a popular time for weddings (at least, that's how it has been with our family and friends).

But this year, I got to lay on a blanket next to my closest family friends, and absorb the flashes of color. I never realized how calming it could be to have a relaxed Fourth; to sleep in, eat a lot, watch movies, have an outdoor picnic, and do nothing. (Doing nothing is highly underrated, by the way. It seems to be an art in itself!)

Did you do anything special this weekend?

In Writing News...

I am straddling the awkward line between editing what I have written and moving forward to write more!! My characters feel real and fleshed out and I love my story line,


the plot feels somewhat sluggish. So far, I have been following an amorphous outline, but I do not want the reader to be bored!!

I read the reviews of certain books that are praised for "quickly moving, thick plots" and others that are insulted for "long winded" ones, so how does a writer tell while the work is actually being made??

How do you plot? How do you know when your plot is at the pace you want it to be?

P.S. Here are some elements from a helpful list I found of things that slow the pace of a novel:

-Flashbacks and backstory
-Characters sitting and thinking
-Long chunks of narrative
-Repeating things

*Pictures from


  1. when my beta readers/critters don't complain the pace is too slow. ;)

    I'm getting a better feel for it now. Plus I find it helps to take time away from the ms. Then I can tell when the pace in slowing too much.

  2. When I'm not bored by it! I can tell I'm doing it right when I get sucked in, even though I've read it a thousand times before. If I'm skimming over a segment, chances are I could cut it!

  3. Beta readers are good about letting you know if the pace is too slow. But if you suspect it, chances are it needs some oomph. My pacing got better when I learned that each scene must propel the story forward. Creating tension helps too. Good luck!

    I had a fun 4th picnicking and watching fireworks.

  4. Doing nothing sounds like fun - I've got to give it a try :)

    I like throwing twists and turns at my characters. Keeps the plot fun!

  5. I'm glad you had a great Fourth! My parents had a cook-out. We played outdoor games, ate lots of delicious food, caught fireflies with my nieces and nephews, and at night roasted marshmallows over the firepit for s'mores while watching the distant fireworks. :) It was delightful!

    Letting a few other people read your WiP is a great way to tell how the pace is going. Also, let it sit for a few days! It'll give you a fresh, more objective perspective. Good luck!

  6. Doing nothing is very hard to do .... you never know when you are finished, and I do nothing.
    Don't worry everything will fall in place, just leave it alone for some time and see the magic happen.
    Good Luck, Rama.

  7. Time to throw some conflict in and ask what if??That's what I do and it always pushes the plot along much better.

  8. We walked to where they were setting off the fireworks-as close as we could get. It was awesome!

  9. I had this very problem with my last novel. I couldn't put my finger on what was slowing it down. After letting it rest a little, I picked it up and pretended I'd just bought the book from the store, and started reading. When I got a little bored or started skimming, I tried to figure out why. I put a lot of narrative in that slowed the pace down, and had several places where commonplace events (eating a meal) and such were not really adding to the plot at all. Also, the business of getting from point A to B was also unnecessary.
    I feel for you Saumya! This is one of the hardest stages of writing, at least it is for me!

  10. You know how I feel about plot! AHHHHHHHH!

    Glad to hear you had a relaxing Fourth!

  11. glad you had a wonderful day! just wanted to let you know there is an award for you over on my blog :)

  12. I think it can be real hard to tell, while in the writing phase, if something is dragging a bit... because, since we already know where we want the story to go, it rarely seems to get there fast enough! At least that's how it goes with me. Most of the time when I'm writing a scene, I'm jazzed about one that is yet to come.

    Wish I could offer more help than that, but I got nothing!

  13. I always try to read it as a reader. So I will always come to a point in the book, where I'll think "Oh no, this is crap. So changing it..." and it helps! =D

  14. Hmm, maybe I need to find a beta reader!! Reading it like a reader is a really good idea! I can't wait to try all of these things out. Thank you so much, everyone!

  15. i struggle with passive main characters, so they always effect the pace. i think i start off with a slower pace, but after revisions it picks up

  16. Saumya! I came here to stalk to see if you were in Atlanta/interested in going to see Emily Giffin speak tomorrow, but it looks like you're still in the instead I'll offer myself up if you ever need a fresh set of eyes to read your novel! I'd love to : )

  17. wherreeeee is the pink handbag from ?:O