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There is no muse, and other unsettling principles: 5 of 6 - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
There is no muse, and other unsettling principles: 5 of 6
6. Hmph. I rely upon my precious, precious muse for plots.
 
Then you’re a fool. Plot – that overrated notion – is a function of theme and mood and character, implicit in, and flowering organically from, the initial vision or sensory inspiration. No one reads Conan Doyle or Michael Innes or Sayers or Anthony Price again and again for plot, not after the first go. They reread the Wimsey and Fr Brown and Holmes stories and the adventures of Dr Audley and Colonel Butler for character, mood, and theme, for the Victorian fog or the donnish humour, the Thomistic paradoxes of Fr Brown and the sublime arrogance of David Audley and the damn-your-eyes brilliance of Lord Peter. (Well, that and the cricket.)
 
And if this is so, as it is, of the detective story and the espionage thriller – and of such allied stories as Hornblower’s saga – it is true a fortiori of genres that do not rely in their first readings upon clever, twisty plots.
 
Damn it all, no one sits down with a card index and a chart to plot out poetry, after all.
 
When you know your characters, how they live and love and laugh and eat and move and have their being, and their reactions to and in any situation – such as that that sparked you to write – and you’ve your mood and theme in mind, plot follows, with sweet inevitability, and without your planning it: organically. And blockage vanishes, as these characters in that setting take over and draw you along in the ways in which they choose naturally to go.
 
I wasn’t joking when I noted, in the exhaustive and doubtless exhausting notes to Drink Up Thy Zider, that it went where it went because the prompt forced me to ask, What brought Draco into the City, and, What might bring a war-weary war leader to the West Country to grow apples? To paraphrase Wimsey’s comments to his lady wife, Harriet-Vane-as-was, When you know how, you know who, and why; and contrariwise. Or as La Rowling put it, she knew Snape, and Snape wasn’t going to wear a purple turban.
 


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el_staplador From: el_staplador Date: October 11th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
When you know your characters, how they live and love and laugh and eat and move and have their being, and their reactions to and in any situation – such as that that sparked you to write – and you’ve your mood and theme in mind, plot follows, with sweet inevitability, and without your planning it: organically

Amen to this. I am at this moment bewildered and delighted by the way that two original characters in a crossedover fandom have not only developed their own inevitable characters by means of nature and nurture, but have dragged their own plot in with them, because when A is the child of Y and Z, and B is the child of W and X, of course it follows that they will do F, G and H, because this is who they are, and this is the world they live in. And this is just as well for me, because goodness knows I can't do plot. (I wouldn't worry; I usually piggyback on canon, but even I can't stretch out a character study for twenty thousand words.)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 13th, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Precisely.

You do always get it, m' dear.
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