Friday, September 22, 2006

Patricia Highsmith on Developing a Plot

Patricia Highsmith on developing a plot:

A plot, after all, should never be a rigid thing in the writer’s mind when he starts to work. I carry this thought one step further and believe that a plot should not even be completed. I have to think of my own entertainment, and I like surprises myself. If I know everything that is going to happen, it is not so much fun writing it. But more important is the fact that a flexible plot line lets the characters move and make decisions like living people, gives them a chance to debate with themselves, make choices, take them back, make others, as people do in real life. Rigid plots, even if perfect, may result in a cast of automatons.

From Patricia Highsmith, Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction (1983).


Amanda Roper said...

* Twilight Zone*

I picked up the talented mr. ripley at the library and now Patricia Highsmith is all over the blog world! I think we are all linked by some sort of spiritual bookiness... LOL

Anonymous said...

That's very, very helpful Kate. I think she's absolutely right, but maybe that's just because I haven't really quite figured out how things are going to end up in what I'm writing now -- and it's nice to have someone I like so much give me the A-OK to do that.