A plot driven by dialogue.

Spent most of the day thinking I wasn't going to get anything written. Went on my twilight walk, and a chapter formed in my head. Rushed home and wrote it. Bonus!

This is the second time I've written a chapter further into the book than where I left off. I was thinking about how maybe I just didn't like the ending, but then...as I thought about the ending, the ending started coming to me, so maybe I liked it after all. It appears to be these intervening chapters that I'm having trouble with.

Ah, well. Almost done.


Last night chapter was written almost solely as dialogue, and it made me realize how much of the plot of this particular story has been driven by dialogue.

Which means, I think, that the plot is driven by characters and their motivations, and that's probably the best kind of plot of all.

I've noticed that so much fiction nowadays is written for the cool moment, that cool scene, the really neat piece of action, the nifty idea, the surprising twist.

Trouble it, no one wants to spend the time to develop the characters and plot to where that moment has meaning. There is no context, only the moment, but the moment is empty.

That's why I think plot formulas don't work well. They are artificially constructed, instead of arising out of character motivations. Living characters make decisions while you're writing, often surprising you. In fact, some of my best characters, the ones I like the most, have come out of nowhere to take over a story.

So as I reach the end of this book, there is a lot of action. The time for character and plot development is done. It's as if the director of a movie comes to a page that says, "GUNFIGHT" and it's now his job to block out the action, to come up with as many cool moments as possible.

Which work because you care about the characters.

It's as if writers want that ALIENS moment when Ripley says, "Get away from her, you bitch!" without spending the time to show the relationship between Ripley and the little girl.

I came back to writing thinking I'd concentrate on those cool moments, only to discover that I was inclined to write old fashioned storytelling. I thought that would doom me, but I think it works. A slow build is not such a bad thing, if you can get away with it.

I'm  just not sure how much you can get away with it, unless you are already a trusted writer who the reader believes will deliver the goods.