Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Krista (Heart) First Drafts

As I mentioned in this post, I love first drafts--and now I have a new one! I started it a few days ago, and now I just want to wave it in the air and dance around the Christmas tree a few times. But my excitement about this first draft is really probably due to my outline.

This new work-in-progress, which I will affectionately refer to as Bob, first came about as an offshoot of another (failed) idea; that was four weeks ago. So for four weeks now, I’ve been giving Bob the once-over, putting scene ideas down on paper, building up new characters and the world they will inhabit. Since I’ve been thinking about Bob for weeks, when I finally sat down to construct those first few sentences, I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly they came together. At how effortless the tiny details were.

Perhaps I should clarify: The characterization and world building came together smoothly; the actual words and sentences themselves, not so much. I must be out of practice; it’s now been nearly four months since I wrote anything longer than a blog post. Still, I’m confident that the ease of writing will return, and I’m ecstatic that the story elements are so cemented in my brain.

So thank you, noble outline. I’m certain it will change, adapt, over the next weeks and months, but it’s given me something concrete and constructive to work on these past four weeks--so that I haven’t been tempted to jump right into the chapters.

What do you think, O wise blog surfer? Are outlines worth the trouble? And how long do you let a story germinate in your imagination before you start to give it life?

1 comment:

Holly said...

Outlines are definitely worth the trouble. After all, you don't have to stick to them.

A good outline is like the rigging on a sailing ship; you can roll it up or let it expand. And an outline keeps you from writing 30 pages that you cut six months later because the story doesn't go in that direction.

My stories develop when I write every day, whether I feel like writing or not. Sometimes a scene will suggest itself when I am washing the dishes or doing the laundry, but I can't wait for inspiration. Writing every day, even for just a few minutes, makes my stories come to life.

I am looking forward to working on a new story as soon as I get the Novel from Hell into the mail.