Do writers know what they are doing? #writingcommunity #amwriting #plotting #plottwists

Yes, I admit this is a bit of a provocative statement, and sweeping, but I wanted to address an argument I was having with my Husband.

And why not use the internet? Nothing like airing your domestic disharmony in public!

This isn’t a new argument, we have been over it a few times and he’s just not seeing my point of view, even though it’s about writing and I’m a writer and he’s not! So I thought I would get the writing community to wade in on my end. Just in case there is any confusion here, I am a woman and it’s a given that I am always right ๐Ÿ˜‰ Right?

To give some context for this, my husband is an extremely logical person…and I’m, ah, not. I mean I can be logical sometimes, but mostly I take leaps and jump from events to conclusions. I don’t want to get into the nuances of logic v emotion. But in short, I’m comfortable that there isn’t a ‘plan’ or even a ‘logical’ progression to the way a story plays out.

So what was this burning issue provoking domestic disharmony?

Well, it’s George R.R. Martin’s fault.

Specifically Hodor.

I’m really hoping most of you are at least familiar with GoT, but in case you are not…there is a character called ‘Hodor’ and all Hodor says for many seasons is ‘Hodor’, doesn’t matter what folks say to him, situation, stress levels or emotional state, all he says is ‘Hodor’. I think it is season five or six where we discover why this is.

My Husband: That is so amazing, George R.R Martin must have planned this from the start.

Me: I seriously doubt it.

Now, it’s quite possible he did plan it…I’m open to this option. Writers do plan stuff. I plan stuff, but it’s more of a fuzzy framework in which to play, and I change my mind as I go, and add bits, and I blatantly ignore said framework when a new, more interesting, idea pops up.

And I make connections to old seemingly insignificant details all the time.

It’s one of the reasons I think colorful, if somewhat inane details, are so important to a book, because they facilitate connections later down the track. I am always doing this, some minor detail I wrote right at the start will suddenly present itself as a plot twist. It’s part of the process and it’s the way writer’s brains work.

I’m sure someone has asked George R.R. Martin if Hodor was planned right from the start, and perhaps he was. My argument isn’t about whether or not Hodor would always ‘hold a door’ from the moment he arrived on the pages of that draft all those moons ago. But it isย possible that he wasn’t, and it is my firm opinion that writers do take strange quirks and details and repurpose them later.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Have you ever planned a major twist right from the very start?

Have you ever stumbled across a plot twist as you were writing, pulling in an early event or detail and repurposing it towards the end?

Happy reading and writing ๐Ÿ™‚

…and for those who want the answer to the burning did he / didn’t he question.

How Does Game of Thrones Author George R.R. Martin Really Feel About That Hodor Reveal?

15 thoughts on “Do writers know what they are doing? #writingcommunity #amwriting #plotting #plottwists

  1. I have completed the first book of a trilogy. But I outlined all three books before even beginning to write the first one. I wanted to be able to do those kind of tricks. Some authors will come up with something in book three that realy doen’t flow with the earlier novels. I myself
    hate when this happens.

    I imagine a polished write like Martin planned everything.
    Just my thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, plot twists should never be jarring. if something is thrown in without a connection or a poor connection, it rarely works…I meant more that every single thing isn’t planned up front ๐Ÿ™‚ When I wrote my trilogy I did go back emphasize a few bits in the first book to facilitate the third before publishing, but they were already there and I just tweaked them a bit. And from what I have read that Mr. Martin did in fact plan Hodor. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I wondered when watching the series if the name’s meaning had originally been used in a less intense moment, and later he decided to reveal the meaning in a more pivotal and heart wrenching scene. As for myself, I plan the big twists and the smaller ones sometimes present themselves as I’m writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I once had a short story that was all about a chase. I focused on the action and the encounter between the protagonist and his quarry at the end. My friend read the story (he’s a lit ph.d, so he knows his stuff) and he saw I was doing something interesting with the blizzard that was going on in the background. There was some symbolism there that I didn’t see. After getting his feedback, I amplified that part and the story was much better for it. I agree, the end results are not always how we intended them to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve done it both ways, and various in-between ways. I write serially, so I’m always locked into what I’ve already posted (which I find to be tremendously helpful), but sometimes I know who the killer is from the beginning and sometimes I have no idea (sometimes who gets killed surprises me, too).

    One thing that really struck me was in Joss Whedon’s commentary track for the first episode of Firefly. As the episode moved along, he pointed out things in the background of scenes that he had planted for the future. He often no idea of what he would end up using them for (and mostly he didn’t use them at all, since the series was canceled), but he thought they would be useful, for something, someday, so he stuck them in.

    I think this is often what it really is: somewhere in between the extremes of planned and not-planned.

    Liked by 1 person

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