It’s Not Exactly Writing…


…but it IS writing related, I suppose.

I’ve been outlining a lot. I’ve got a new method I love for developing a story plot and outline. It’s a lot more work than just filling in the milestones or sections of a story map like I’ve done in the past. I think the payoff, however, is going to be richer stories for the effort. At least, I hope so. Some of that payoff, naturally, depends on my skill as a storyteller, so there’s a risk.

Doing this, I’ve outlined my old, beloved manuscript (I mentioned this before), it’s sequel, a new stand-alone novel (which I initially worked over with my beloved wife using The Hero’s Journey model), an idea I’ve had about a haunted woman which is now a developed plot, and my languishing literary attempt, which didn’t have an outline, map, goal, or anything else which would have made it a real story. So…all that in the last month or so. Not bad.

I have a few more on tap, too. I can’t wait to run them through this mill and see what turns out the other side!

I like this new method, which is a sort of streamlined version of utilizing Dramatica Theory of Story (Google it if you’re interested), which provides me with some key elements to the story I’m working on. When I segment those key elements in the existing story map I’ve mentioned before, I end up with four markers for each act, which are then broken nicely into four sequence of events each, and each of those sequences has four events, giving me sixteen events per act, for a total of sixty-four. But this varies; it could be as few as forty-eight events, wherein each act has four sequences which are broken into only three events each. See how that works?

I hope so. At any rate, this new method provides a great structure, but I’ve also been reading another book which posits another way of looking at those sequences. They all work together for the story, so it’s not that big a deal, but I’m always on the look-out for an easier way, a simpler way, a way which more clearly defines things for me so I understand and execute them better.

I’m learning about subtext too, and how to create it, and how much readers love it. So we’ll see if there’s the possibility of getting that included in the stories too. But that’s more at the scene level and the outline level, frankly.

So not much writing, but a whole lotta learning and outlining. It’s good stuff. I guess maybe next month I’ll get back to writing.

In other news, I also uploaded another stand-alone version of a short (long) story from my collection books. This one’s called Remember Me, and it will be free (provided it’s live) from Monday (today as you read this) through Wednesday this week, so be sure and get your copy while it’s free! At the time of this writing, however, I don’t have a link to give you with the correct title, so it’s not “live” yet. When it is, you’ll be the first to know it!

Also, BIG – and I mean BIG – stuff happening at work. Prayers are appreciated.

Hope you had a good weekend!

-JDT-

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2 thoughts on “It’s Not Exactly Writing…

  1. All seems well in DarcKnyt land– I’m happy for you! I outlined my novel when I started, but now my characters are growing around it, like so many vines and creepers on the walls of a house. Sigh.

    For me, outlining is critical to the success of writing a novel. I don’t understand the “my characters aren’t cooperating” aspect I’ve heard from so many other writers (most of them). I’ve discovered great success keeping stories on track, eliminating plot holes, going to revisions instead of drafts, and many other benefits by outlining the story first. Character evolution shows up in revision for me, but maybe I’m weaker as an artist because my “characters” don’t “run away with the story”? Who knows? I’m just having a ball doing this.

    I hope you’re healing well from your injury, and I’m so glad to see you pop around again! Have a GREAT day and good luck with your novel!

  2. What I hear you saying is: As with most projects, the biggest challenge is in the planning. Once you have a good plan, most of the hard work is done!

    I think that’s a good summation. The misery of NOT planning is far, far worse to me than taking the time to hammer this stuff out ahead of time. And following the outline doesn’t have to be a rigid, disciplinary march from one end to the other, which I think is why most “pantsers” think outlining will “kill” their creativity. If they’d only learn! It would LIBERATE their creative powers! Maybe I should post on that someday.

    I remember doing that kind of outlining for my university essays, but I never tried it on fiction. I guess it’s probably easier with the software available now. I used to write all my points out on pink index cards and arrange them on my bedroom floor until I had the right sequence. It worked pretty well, but the cat always looked at me funny, like – what is that silly human up to now?

    The index-cards-on-the-floor method is still, and will likely always be, one of the most effective ways to arrange the thoughts of a written work. In fact, the best writing software I’ve ever used, Scrivener, uses a corkboard with index cards to simulate just that method. I’ve been reading another craft book and found the author recommends writing the sequence of events on one side of the card, and on the other writing the summary of the three or four events which comprise the sequence. Arrange them on the floor, just as you did in college. And when the sequences are all in the correct order, then — and ONLY then — do you put fingers to keyboard to write. It’s brilliant and effective. 🙂

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