Friday, April 10, 2015

OOMPH: Part Two

I started the week out with a simple goal: create an outline I could use to plot out changes I wanted to make in my novel. In short, look for a way to navigate and keep myself on course.

I checked into doing a “real” outline. Building a document with topics, subtopics, details, and sub details. You know an arrangement of staggered, stepped sentence-like things that use Roman numerals for main ideas and upper and lower case letters for elaborations. I even watched a YouTube video. It seemed a bit overwhelming.

I didn’t want to invest that much time into creating something brand new from scratch. So, a regulation outline wasn’t going to happen.

Instead, I went with what I had, seven pages of hand written notes that summarized each chapter as I had it at this time. Basically a list. Crude perhaps, but I needed to make it work.

First, I went through my list and blocked out major areas of action and made note cards. I laid these out on a desk top and organized them into the days of my timeline. This gave me a nice two dimensional layout that I could move around. Again, crude. But it worked well enough for me to see that moving large chunks of action around wasn’t going to work out. I couldn’t see the motivation that would get my protagonist to develop the way I wanted. Thus, with no major insights, I had to stay with what I had.

What I could do, and this went along with editor Jane VanVooren Rogers' suggestions, was to add detail, action, and enrich what I had.

So, my seven pages became my guide. Sticky notes became my tools of choice.

Actually, they were small, arrow-shaped sticky notes in a great many colors. I used them to follow different characters throughout the story and guide the changes I wanted to make.

It might not be “by the book” correct, but my impromptu visual aide has allowed me to make progress.

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