Saturday, August 11, 2012

What I learned during my ten thousand hours of practice, Pt. 2

So there I was, with some basic ideas, characters, and a visual display of my outline. I'd just start writing and the story would gel, right? Like the premise of driving at night - you can only see as far as your headlights allow, but as you move forward, it's always just enough.
Right? Wrong. Reality check.

What I realized once I got going:
1. The short articles I’d written had all been non-fiction. I’d never created a character before.
2. The characters I created were cardboard.
3. I’d never written a plot before.
4. The plot I wrote dragged.

5. I had no idea where to really begin my story and wrote about 10 different opening scenes. Most occurred earlier in the story than the previously attempted opening.
6. Writing a scene from a single sentence on an index card may have worked if the characters had been fleshed out. Mine hadn’t been, and they didn’t get flesh until I started writing about them. Then they got mouthy and demanded changes to the plot I’d planned for them.
7. Writing the plot on index cards might have worked as well, but again, those darn characters took over the action and I had to do their bidding.
I took down the index cards and their long paper framework and burned them.
8. I tried plan B, to write the story ‘organically’, just let it grow from the seed of the story setting and problem.
9. Writing organically takes me a really long time, because it’s mostly false starts and wrong turns.
10. It’s hard for me to discipline my mind and keep it on track when I write organically. I need the structure of an outline, and my outline was crap.

Tomorrow - more of what I realized once I got going.

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