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Deciding What To Write-Can You Get There From Here?
When writing an article or story, how exactly do you decide what to write? Do your characters develop as you go when writing fiction? Does your plot unfold by chance? Do you have a clear idea of where your story or article is going before you actually begin to write?
I have to admit there are times when I just start writing and worry about the details later. Interestingly, it is a unique exercise in taking something without purpose and finding one for it. However, there is a method called ‘clustering’ that can help you define key elements to a story before it is subjected to creative phrase turning.
A ‘cluster’ simply allows you to group main ideas, settings, characters, plot, etc. in one place so you have a simple map of where the story will go. It’s essentially the bare bones of the story with the rest of the body to come a little later.
It may seem silly to write before you write, but a ‘cluster’ provides a map for your story. It can’t show you the trees or the potholes along the way, but it helps you figure out how to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’. The remainder of the trip is for you to discover and enjoy.
Many frustrated writers will move along in a story they are really proud of only to hit a brick wall because they can’t figure out what the character is supposed to do next and where the plot is heading. A ‘cluster’ can provide a disciplined approach to help you know ahead of time where the story is headed so you miss the road blacks and simply find yourself taking a few detours along the way to your final destination.
Writing without a ‘cluster’ often takes significantly more time simply because you come to the end of your story and discover some of the rest of the story needs to be changed to adapt to your recently discovered ending. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been wonderful stories written this way; simply that this freeform method is often difficult to duplicate causing frustration because the story just doesn’t seem to be cooperating.
By using a ‘cluster’ you can connect the dots of your story so the reader actually sees the picture you saw before you started your masterpiece.
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Travel Part B