Saturday, December 10, 2005


As I've alluded to in several earlier posts, I don't generally outline my stories before I write them. Part of the fun of writing, from my perspective, is having your characters surprise you -- it's almost as if your subconscious is telling you a story. I can't really imagine writing any other way. I feel like if I did write an outline, I'd simply be wasting my time, since I know I'd never follow anything on it.

For the past several months, though, I've been interested in experimenting with different techniques related to writing. No matter how much you think your way of doing things is best, there are still tricks to be learned from others. And after all, until you've tried the other approaches, you certainly can't claim that your way is best -- even best for you. So, I've tried to keep an open mind to other ways of doing things. In that spirit, I recently picked up a copy of First Draft in 30 Days. This is not the NaNoWriMo book (that one is No Plot? No Problem!), and in spite of the title, the book is not really about putting together a first draft in thirty days. In reality, the book is about outlining. The author lays her method for outlining a book, which she claims is so detailed, you generally only have to write the final draft once you've completed the outline. No endless major revisions of the novel. The fact that she's broken it up into steps that extend of thirty days is really just a marketing ploy (which is a negative thing in my mind -- an instruction book should be honest in its selling points). Nevertheless, having thumbed through her suggestions, I think there might be some merit here, so I've decided to give it a go. I honestly can't see it making me want to outline before writing, but she does acknowledge that many people write the way I do, and she says her method is not incompatible with that. We'll see. As I said, I do try to keep an open mind, and I'm always interested in experimenting!

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