Trying New Things
Recently I was diagnosed with mild brain damage. Apparently it is this condition which causes some of my idiosyncrasies and different ways of thinking. This condition combines with emotional issues to inform my writing in execution as much as style. Due to this, I’ve been instructed to attempt new things in order to get what I see in my brain properly translated to the page.
I have never been one to outline. In fact, I was known in English class as the one-drafter, meaning that I wrote one draft and merely polished it up prior to turning it in. My teacher complained to me about how I should put more effort into my work, but I always came back with the excuse that mine was the highest grade so obviously no more work was necessary.
When I transitioned into writing fiction, I considered the idea of an outline again. Having no experience with such a creature, I chose to write by the seat of my pants instead. It is an exhilarating experience. One that allows me to follow the story and not try to force it into a framework it doesn’t wish to go in. My characters are also freer to develop themselves fully, with minimum prodding by me. I feel this lends more credibility to my stories and makes them a more enjoyable tale for the reader.
Sadly, due to my shattered thought process the stories are often jumbled too. Even after two or twenty passes in rewrite, flaws of logic, tone, or clarity still abound. The stories just simply never translate from my brain onto paper.
That is where the ‘new method’ comes in. Now, I still write by the seat of my pants and merely follow the idea into whatever story is dyeing to be told. The difference is, once I have completed that march I set it aside. This is my outline. Then I read through it and look for flaws in the story. Not to rewrite them right there, but to correct the linear flow.
Once that is complete, I start my story paragraph by paragraph. Each paragraph is mulled over and over to be sure it says exactly what it needs to say the way it needs to say it. Only then do I move on to the next paragraph, scene, or section. Following this meticulous method keeps me on track and in tone to tell the story I know is truly there.
You see, even after doing something for years sometimes it is merely trying something new that equals that one breakthrough the artist truly needs to create their dream.
PS … This was a one-drafter.