Friday, June 19, 2009

More on Organic Structure (part 3) or wow—I really “am” that murky…

Yesterday I took another look at my organic structure stuff. I’m not always clear and it’s good when people point that out. Over the course of many years, I’ve been trying to figure stuff out.

Whenever Jen tells people about me, she always says, “…her writer’s journey.” And I like to think that’s pretty much why I started this blog. The journey stops when I’m dead and I’m not dead yet. In the meanwhile I’m messing around in the hopes that something, somewhere will click and I’ll magically know the answer to why the hell I’m not writing to my full potential.

Deb Dixon—-(and if you don’t know who she is, you really need to read her excellent book, Goal, Motivation and Conflict) was kind enough to stop by the other day when I was struggling through organic structure. She clarified how GMC covers both internal, external motivation, and the importance of character--and y’know, I had to pull out my copy. That’s the trouble with the internet; it’s like a big game of telegraph. Things get messed up in translation.

I’ve spent so much time talking to people who whip her out like a baton, (or like she says, “a hammer”) I mistook the garbled message for what she’s actually about. Mea culpa.

I’m also a believer in helping people to find what they’re about, so my apologies (general and hopefully all-encompassing) if anyone feels I’m trying to tell them what to think. As people say at the beginning of RWA lectures (and I really should put in my header). Take what you can use and leave the rest.

I’m an INTJ and--God help me—can no more stop myself from spouting theories than prevent myself from eating chocolate. I wasn’t as clear as I should have been, and on a second look, think what I was trying to say was that linear plot doesn’t work for an organically written character-driven story because the logical progression in such a story doesn’t work on a conscious level.

Although the story has GMC, I don't think it can be seen from the inside during the process of writing this particular kind of rough draft. It can only be seen afterwards during revision/edits or layering.

It’s not really plotting or pantsing--it’s more like flux that flows outward from the characters, and at the point of contact with another character changes to create a story event. Like “a jump” from A to D, instead of the more commonplace A-B-C-D. “A” is a given, and so is “D”, but “B” and “C” are more like a leap of faith that it can’t “not” work if the characters are acting true to themselves and their creation. Sort of like directed fumbling in the dark, if that makes any sense?

Think of a skein of yarn where the “creation” of character is the beginning of the strand--now pull the skein out to where it’s sort of like a big moebius strip, lay it down and cut it on each side. You have a lot of strips that are of equal length.

Organic structure is like that.

A lot of ends that intersect at point “A”, travel in a mostly straight line “toward” point “D”, and then end when they “become” point “D”. BUT, at the same time remain a bunch of ends with the potential to become their own skein, and something totally different when another color or fiber/character gets added.

Multi-layered GMC strands? Or like Zan and Jayna (yes--I'm flying my geek-flag) from Super Friends, saying "shape of..." a cloud that looks like a cloud from the ground and mist when you’re in a plane. Intangible.


Michelle (MG) Braden said...

Hi Jodi - You've been awarded the Friendly Blogger award. See my latest blog post for more info. :-)

PS: Are you going to Nationals this year?

jodi said...

MG? "I" got a friendly blogger award? What's up with that? I have such hard-core self-image. Didn't you see my "evil" avatar?

Yeah--I'll be there. Hopefully we can connect. :)Lots of time during Nationals.

Alice Audrey said...

"linear plot doesn’t work for an organically written character-driven story because the logical progression in such a story doesn’t work on a conscious level."

Exactly! I completely agree. In writing Moving In I was flying into the mist a lot more than I usually do. When I tried to work up a plot, I got bounced back, hard. This particular book wouldn't take a linear plot. But when I tried to fix it, it was easy to spot the GMC.

jodi said...

Alice, you're a good writer. I think you're doing fine, and yeah--that's the whole trouble with organic writing. It's so...I dunno, pantsing without actually being pantsing. More like faith-driven--is that a phrase? *sigh*

Hard to define.

Alice Audrey said...

Faith-driven is about right. It's like "automatic" writing - where someone channels a spirit through their pen. Scary stuff, and you don't want to look to close at where the words are coming from during that rough draft.

jodi said...

good way to put it, Alice.