Monday, August 22, 2011

The Four Basic Writing Stances : Plough

The Plough.  Source

The plough (or Pflug in German) protects very well and allows any attack.  This is achieved by holding the hilt of the sword near your middle, next to your hip bone.  The sword point should be aimed at the chest or neck of your opponent.

While the plough allows any attack, they will be inherently weaker from the lower point (except maybe a straight thrust).  This position is very defensive and leaves most attack points closed or easily closable.  Ergo, it is hard to find an opening when someone is in the plough stance.

In writing, the plough is just as defensive.  You outline your story far before you begin.  You might even go as far as outlining each scene in great detail.  You prepare plot events beforehand and see how it plays out before you start writing.

This stance allows for a lot of stability and defence.  You will know exactly what will happen next and how everything will end up.  You’ll also save some time by having much less revisions and/or rewrites to do than say, the ox.  Your character will end up as you intended, the story will be bound together more strongly and it will feel more like a whole.  Your story will be very clear.

However, by outlining your story, you could be forcing your characters into plot events before you really know who they are.  Therefore, your characters might seem less real and might even make unrealistic decisions (if you didn’t think it out properly).  Also, since you decided everything beforehand, the events may seem to happen mechanically.

If you push the outlining too far, your story could end up sounding like a newspaper article rather than a story.  However, if you do it right, the plough stance gives your story focus and keeps it going in the right direction.  As long as you keep your characters in mind when plotting, your story will have clarity and move deliberately from one point to the next.

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