Ep 14: Cycling

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Dreading the revisions at the end of your novel? Wondering how to keep your complicated plot from going off the rails, even when you’re working without an outline? This technique can solve both problems for you, and unlock other creative possibilities besides.

3 thoughts on “Ep 14: Cycling”

  1. Is “Cycling” also called “Hot Editing”?

    If we have constructed a plot that we know has all the elements of plots we love to read/watch/listen too but is still boring to us its boring to us because it is our plot and we see it from the inside, as a writer, instead of a reader. Are you suggesting that we’ll likely always think our plots are boring and they will likely never have that “Pop” to us like a plot that wasn’t written by us has?

    Wow, I had no idea.

    1. Never heard the term “Hot Editing” before. It could be.

      That’s almost what I’m suggesting, yes. To be more specific, I’m suggesting that, for the vast majority of people, your voice and sensibilities will, at best, seem familiar and straightforward to you. Most of the time, familiar and straightforward is boring and same-same. There may be books, from time to time, that break this trend, but on the whole, for most people, the more directly you’re working from your best creative well, the more it’s going to sound to you upon re-read as something that’s dreadfully dull and predictable.

      As a personal example, I’m generally known for VERY twisty plots–enough so that occasionally when a reader thinks enough like me and can spot where the book is headed, they tend to leave nasty reviews complaining of the false advertising in other reviews. But me? I’m the magician. I know where the extra cards are stashed, because that’s where a person like me would stash them. So I don’t fool me very often. When I’m writing, despite the fact that a lot of readers get whiplash from the weird turns my novels take, I’m always convinced that everything is a tired cliché that’s predictable from word one, because that level of twistiness is what my brain considers “normal” for some reason. I’m the guy who can be counted on always to take the weird alternate route on a road trip, just because if there are fewer cars on it, it might be a less irritating drive.

      So, yeah. Most of the time, for most people, your work will never jump out and bite you the way it will your readers. Accept it. It’s fun to write anyway, and the more raw the writing, the better it’ll generally sound to your audience 🙂

      -Dan

  2. “I’m always convinced that everything is a tired cliché that’s predictable from word one”
    I suffer from this too in my own writing. It feels flat, even though I have all the same elements of the fiction that I love, but mine feels flat and small and no where near big enough.

    When we’re watching TV and my wife is really into a show it frustrates her that I can see the plot coming twenty minutes away (Some shows are so terribly obvious that they put me to sleep “Young & Hungry” comes to mind I could predict the punch line of every single joke set up). Other shows, like HOMELAND and FARGO my wife counts on me being able to keep her informed, it’s like she has a reviewer sitting right next to her on the couch.

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