Fluidity vs. Rigidity


This morning I met a man who is a Professional Storyteller. Yep, that’s right. He tells stories for a living. He also does workshops and spends time doing Creative Writing with kids of all ages and abilities and can provide short courses for adults too. What a job!

Today though he was talking to the children about the linear nature by which so many people approach writing stories. He tried to get them to think more innovatively and recognise that part of a story can be changed even if another part is staying the same, or that maybe the beginning could be different but you could find another way to use the same ending. Genius stuff for kids who make a fuss about even writing thirty words!

But it got me thinking about my own writing and how I approach it. If I’m honest, I generally map out my fiction writing a bit like a line graph. Starting at the bottom, does the atmosphere of the storyline go up or down? And what events set those changes in course?

I end up with something like this:


But maybe I could be a bit more fluid in my writing. Maybe I could mind map my chapters or spiral them out do some sort of flow chart. Perhaps my issues in getting past those first few chapters is that my plans are too rigid? What if Character A didn’t necessarily go to that place but instead went to somewhere different? Would it matter if those characters met at a different location, ordered a different drink and sat at a different table?

I’ve never really been one to “let loose” but this could be my chance. It’s feasible that I live my whole life like this too – in lists and schedules and planners – but maybe that’s more of a ‘personality type’ thing and simply something that’s too ingrained to change. (I love personality type stuff, don’t get me started on that! Or maybe do… but on a different day!)

Do you write with a plan? And is it a set formula or are you a fluid, changeable person? If you do use a plan, what style of planning suits you best?

How does your life fit in with that? Are you a constant in theory and practice or a “go with the flow” type? What’s the plan for today? Is it set in stone or can you take a bit of surprise?

Thanks for reading! If you’re here because you were expecting a post about nappies or bottle feeding, don’t fret! I write regularly about parenting issues but on Wednesdays I write about writing – a passion of mine and something which I’m always on the lookout for advice with. So please keep coming back and reading, you’ll soon find something you can relate to. If you’re here because you love to write then please comment, share, like retweet and generally help one writer out and I’ll try my best to return as many favours as possible! You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (using the buttons below I believe – but I’m not techy so I’ll double check that later!) Huge post coming up on Friday where my Friday Five has turned into a Friday Eleven…


2 thoughts on “Fluidity vs. Rigidity

  1. Glad you liked the workshop! Happy to help in any way I can. The idea is not to seek out the next laureate or Booker Prize winner, but to encourage creativity and a love of literacy in all its forms, which is why I run drama workshops too. Learning should be fun, but sadly, teachers today have to worry far too much about ticking boxes for the government, spending time on paperwork that would be better spent on freeing themselves from the fear of failure. Yes, FAILURE!

    Not every lesson works with every class. The secret is to learn from that, and improve without allowing doubt in your considerable abilities to drive you into a cage of your own making. I’ve learned far more from my mistakes than my successes. Teachers are undervalued and overworked, the emphasis has been far too long on the academic success, instead of pupil led success. This has resulted in far too few engineers, trades people, innovators of all kinds; problem solvers and practical skills. Thinking creatively allows such skills to develop, thrive and benefit the world.


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