So, as I've mentioned a few dozen times, I took a workshop at the Haliburton School of the Arts last week. The class was called Fiction Writer's Bootcamp and was taught by Barbara Kyle. As expected, we covered characterization, structure, POV, all the basics. What made this better than other classes I've taken, was that the teacher used tons of examples from books and movies to illustrate the points of the lesson...way more informative.
The thing that I found most useful was the lecture on storylining or outlining. I'm a pantster. I get a vague idea and open a new file and hope for the best. It never occurred to me that it was wasteful, but after listening to that lecture, I realized I really was wasting a lot of time and effort. Why? Okay, when I was working on Moving Atlantis, I got about half way through and realized I hated a good chunk of the story. I cut it back to less than half of what I had and man was that painful. Imagine if that was a novel length story? Ouch! Hundreds of pages, months of work, cut out because the story wasn't working. If I had storylined, I'd have worked through those issues ahead of time, and figured out how to make the story work with a proper plot etc.
And how many times have I sat staring at the screen going "what now?" I can get to a point where I have no clue what the next step should be and it stalls me for weeks.
Anyway, so now I'm going back and outlining the stalled stories, or at least a few to get me started. Then I can see what research I need to do and work the little bits into the story properly rather than getting to a spot and realizing "oh crap, I don't know anything about that." then after doing the research realizing I have to cut out a bunch because I'd made a lot of factual errors.
All seems obvious huh? I'm slow that way. It's pretty natural to want to get actual words on a page, to have progress to report. *grin* And I have no willpower, so I'm sure I'll break a bit and start actual writing, but my goal is to start actually planning rather than running into a story blind.
Ta, off to canoe now!
posted by Jennie Andrus at 4:01 pm