“If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.”― Fay Weldon
I learned to sculpt making kiln-fired ceramics. After I no longer had access to a kiln I switched to using sculpey clay and was constantly frustrated by what I saw as the limitations of sculpey. Some time passed and I happened upon instructions for a project that called for making an armature out of tin foil and then covering it in sculpey. I knew what an armature was, but I thought of it as being something you only used on very large sculptures. Discovering that simple tin foil could not only help me do what I wanted to, but could help me create things I hadn’t previously thought possible blew my mind. It opened up a whole new world of things I could create. It turned what I had seen as a limitation into a strength and opened up possibilities that weren’t possible with traditional clay techniques.
Recently I had to provide a full outline for a story and I discovered… I didn’t know how to construct a plot from the ground up without actually writing the whole story. Holy crap. Plot is the bones the story hangs on– and I don’t really think about it? Clearly I can’t be HORRIBLE at plot as my stories aren’t falling over due to lack of support– but how much better could they be?
It’s hard work doing plot autopsies of books and movies I enjoy. It’s even harder constructing my own outlines. I’d much rather rely on my strengths. Whenever I decide that learning to plot is too difficult my internal editor turns into my editor friend Lily standing over my prone form, her pink hair flying as she punctuates each word with a ruler smack, “You. Will. Learn. To. Plot.”