I’m sure we all think that our own genre is unlike all others…
I remember, years ago when I first took one of her courses, trying to convince Holly Lisle that I couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t plot quite like her other pupils because I wrote historicals…
Now, Holly was certainly right in insisting that I try her method the way she taught it, before adapting it to my writing needs – which I have done since, to much satisfaction, because her techniques are great – but I also still maintain that a historical novel, if history is to be more than a generic background and a set of costumes, calls for its own manner of plotting.
And of course there is no single right way to go about it, and things can be very different depending on how central the historical characters are – but for a glimpse of “our” specific set of challenges, you can read MK Tod’s post on outlining a historical novel, and Richard Denham’s thoughts on historicity and fiction.
And this barely begins to scrape the surface, of course… So I’ll amend what I said in the title: our plots may not be all that different, in the end – but our plotting certainly needs to be.
Davide Mana said:
Basically, any genre has its own requirements, elements you need to fit in the plot, research, constraints, the works – the tightrope walking plotting of the historical novelist is not different, basically, from the tightrope walking of the science fiction writer (only, SF writers also has to juggle while they walk the rope*), or the tightrope walking of the adventure writer (that usually has to do with geography what the historical novelist has to do with history), etcetera.
Maybe the actual plotting follows a different set of paces, but probably only “realistic fiction” involves no tightrope walking – being the most unrealistic form of fantasy 😉
*(yes, I know, there are some candid souls that preach “science-free science fiction”, but you know what I think about those dorks)