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Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Writing Process: Act 2


Dudes -- I just realized there are only 9 posts until my 200th blog post. I must start planning something SPECTACULAR for it...hm...I will think on this. Confetti may be involved.

How Sara Writes: A Play in Multiple Acts

ACT TWO: Lining a way Out

Lights come up on our protagonist, Sara, center-stage. She is sitting at the Big Red Desk, scribbling in a notebook. Every few words, she scratches out what she wrote and begins again.
Sara: The scene with the pet store comes before the scene with the clown car, right? I mean, really, that flows so perfectly.

Sara scribbles, sits back, and taps the pencil against her chin in thought.
Sara: But after that? What comes after that?

Reaching behind Big Red Desk, Sara pulls out a giant piece of hardback paper. On the paper is a very complicated series of scrawled notes and jutting lines connecting notes to notes. Sara looks at it, smiles, and nods.
Sara: Oh, yes! It's so clear to me now. I had the clown car scene coming after the pet store scene but BEFORE the nuclear holocaust attack. Oh! That'd be a perfect time to insert some character development about my MC's hatred of face paint!

Sara drops to the stage and begins writing on the giant piece of hardback paper. She connects notes to notes, drawing more lines and circles and lines until it appears as though she is drawing top-secret alien coded messages.
Sara: *sniffling* And they all lived happy forever after. It's perfect! Now -- to write!

Sara hugs the giant piece of hardback paper and runs off stage left. Why she runs off stage is a mystery, as her Big Red Desk is clearly on the stage and if she wants to write, she would need to be at Big Red Desk. It is best not to question her, though.

I'm an outlining kind of girl. I know some people shudder at the thought, but I am one who swears by it. My little writer mind likes to create complicated, interloping story threads that leave me curled in a glazed-eyed heap if I don't chart out exactly what happens to who when. Me likes my story maps. I'd get quite lost in my own little worlds without them. And it's happened, too; search party couldn't find me for at least a day.

PS: There was something I'd been meaning to "PS" on a blog post about, but I can't remember what it was. It was important. Thus I am reserving the right to "PS" on this post should it come to me before my next post.

11 comments:

Natalie Whipple said...

Yeah, the outline. You know how that works for me—the one book I outlined never got finished.

But I'm glad you outline, because then you write. And I like your writing. A lot.

Kat O'Keeffe said...

Yay for outlining! It seems like writers who love to outline are a dying breed. When did the outline become an evil, wicked thing? Outlining and plotting are half the fun!

Mariah Irvin said...

Ah, outlines. They don't always get along with me.

Yay for almost 200 posts!

inthewritemind said...

I outline too, although mine is generally just a long rambling summary (the one for my current WiP is currently 6 pages single spaced). I've had other writer friends want to read it, but it's really only something my muddled brain can understand as I tend to write in short sentence fragments.

I used to try and outline by chapter but found I often strayed from it. So now I write a loose outline and add in plot ideas if/when they come to me.

A lot of times the story will take a different path from what I envisioned and then I have to fix my outline or else I get lost. :P

Kate said...

I've never been an outlining kind of person!

Kate said...

And I also meant to add:
I loved this post. Clown car scene, pet shop scene and nuclear holocaust!

melane said...

I have to outline, too, but it's not detailed at all. It's very easy to change things if I need to.

sraasch said...

Natalie -- I'm glad you like my writing :) I like your writing. We're even ;)

Kat -- I agree! I don't know when outlining became a thing that made people shudder, but I for one can't function properly without knowing what's going to happen next.

Mariah -- Yay 200 indeed! Has it really been 200? Goodness, seems like just yesterday I was doing my 100th post...

Dara -- I add as I go too. The outline for STREAM PIRATE was VERY detailed, but the outline for the sequel I'm working on is much less detailed. It depends on the solidity of the story I have ironed out; if I know EXACTLY where it's going, a more detailed outline comes. If loose ends hang in the balance, it tends to be freer.

Kate -- Hehe, thanks! Yeah, that would be quite a story. Clowns and pets and nuclear stuff...

melane -- That's what I like about outlines; you still have time to go back and change things. Not that you don't once the novel is written/underway, but it feels easier to change things in outline-form.

Hayley said...

Outlining, *shudder*. I've tried to outline Sara I have, at your advice, and it so works, but I love the craziness of an unplotted first draft, like adventure on a bus being driven by someone who exacped a psych ward. I always think I can just go back and map it out later. Like Columbus, not my favorite exploerer but you get my point, or Lewis and Clark. Whats the fun if you know exactly where the road bends? On another note I love your PS and have to say that I can vividly picture you with your writing map!

sraasch said...

Hayley -- That's a very vivid image, a bus driven by a psych ward escapee...throw in Columbus and Lewis and Clark and I'll be stuck daydreaming about a crazy-driver-driven bus filled with old world explorers for the next few minutes...

*eyes glaze over*

LOOK OUT, CORTEZ!

Hayley said...

I just realized I spelt explorer wrong. What a fail.