Saturday, May 5, 2012

Writing Methods Part 2

While there are two extreme sides of writing methods. There are also the middle grounds. It is in those grounds between the two camps that method uniqueness exists. There are many writers who would claim to work from one camp or another. But often times they live on the fringes of the camps, mingling into the middle grounds or backing as far away from them as possible.

These are the two extremes: 

1.I know some writers who stay very far into the outline camp. They plan out every single detail and if something doesn't work, well, they work something else out with a new outline.

2. Then there are the writers, like a dear friend of mine, who spawn a single idea in their mind and then just start writing. They just go with it and let the story tell itself.

I find that many writers would place themselves in the middle ground between the two camps. Or, as one writer friend comically told me, "I think outside the box." Some of them lean more toward the intuitive method and some lean more toward the outline method. But all of them have a mixture of the two in their writing.

Also, I believe that many writers have a journey that leads to their ideal writing method. I do wonder how many writers, you included, are still making little steps in their journeys. Do you still make little changes to your writing method? Are you still trying to find your mix?

My own story started on the fringes of the Intuitive method camp. It worked well enough until I ran into problems. I would create an idea, throw in a main character and a villain and then let them have at it. This did not work so well and it worked terribly for remembering ideas that I wanted to keep. There was one story that I was working on that acted as the kick in my pants to get me on my journey. Looking back, I think it was a bad idea anyway, but I put a lot of work into it and when it failed and I didn't have any plans prepared, I realized I needed to have some security device.

As I started out on my journey I implemented a new element to my method. This new element was my security device. I took a piece of paper and then pondered on my idea for a while. I formed my idea into parts and then detailed what major things I wanted to happen in those parts. This helped because I could concentrate on getting to closer points instead of fighting my way from beginning to end of a whole novel.

The next element I introduced was the spider-web outline. This outline element does not detail major world events or every tiny detail in the story. I designed this element towards my own love for characters. I would place my main character's name into the center of the paper and then draw lines connecting him to all the other characters. I would label these lines with words like enemy, friend, lover, and such.

Recently I added another element of the Outline camp to my writing method. I placed on my spider-web outlines certain key actions character make against characters. This gave me an idea of how certain character became enemies or how certain characters effect others, but I still left it so that I did not know exactly how the characters decided to make those key actions.

My most recent element to my writing method is that I have decided to write the first chapter of every new idea just to see if it writes out well and to supplant it in my mind so that I can think it over.

So, overall, I think my own method consists of my spider-web outline, a synopsis, an elevator pitch, and then the first chapter for every new idea. While I stand farther from the Intuitive method's camp than when I started, I think I still lean heavily toward that method. I enjoy the thrill of the unknown event.

What is your writing method? Which side do you lean toward more?

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