COF

COF

Monday, August 29, 2011

Notes, Outlines, and Techniques

I always like to learn about the techniques other people use when writing and it never ceases to amaze how different each one is. Like how different people take notes. You got the ones who create these rigid, detail-filled, chapter by chapter outlines which turn out to be the novel itself in bare bone fashion (done that) Then the ones who have notes detailing point A to Z and all the major scenes in between but with no idea how to connect them all (done that) and then the ones who have all the notes they need for a series all one one piece of notebook paper or all held within their heads (haven't done that yet, save for short stories) And lastly, those who dont keep notes, or outlines, or even post its. They just start writing and hope for the best (done that...dont advise it)

But what really fascinates me is how some other authors actually write, notes or no notes. Me, Im a linear writer. I need to start here and get to where I need to go in a straight line, no detours, no backing up until Im there, Of course, I have to make the same trip over and over again, smoothing out the road, making repairs, that kind of thing. But then I know authors who are Ultra-Linear; not only wont they stray off the beaten path, they wont leave the path until its beaten to death, which means their first draft is actually their finished project. Or, if you want to think of it another way, a bunch of short multiple drafts.
That would drive me nuts.
Ive also heard of certain authors who do the opposite of that, writing a beginning chapter here, an end chapter there, a middle chapter here, another end chapter, and then a beginning.... Im still not sure how that can even be done sanely, but I know it can be accomplished, just not by me. How would you know if you were done? Nope. Lifes hard enough without adding that in.
But I also heard of a really cool technique where a certain author writes all the threads/storyline for a certain character from beginning to end, then goes back and does the same to another character, until all major and minor threads are done, then combines them to one master draft. I think this way is only really needed in an epic type of story, but I still like it and have thought about using it myself but, for now its just a thought. To be honest, the idea of changing my writing style scares the shit out of me but Im always willing to try new things as long as there isn't a bungeecord tied to the end of it.

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