Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oh Dear... Overboard?


Longtime readers will remember my days as a fierce advocate for writing by the seat of my pants. Recently, I turned a new leaf, gave plotting-ahead a bit of a go.

And like any addictive personality, I took it too far.

Or have I? Those are 80 notecards, 20 for Act I, 40 for Act II, and so on. Roughly one per thousand words of story. Working with them, I've been able to work on pacing, juggle scenes and sequels, space out character appearances/subplots/etc. so that we never go *too* long without hearing from the Duchess of Maldorff and the Subplot to Blackmail her Third Underbutler. Plants and payoffs (the ones I know I need anyway) have been inserted appropriately.

In short, all the headaches I go through in the editing stage are now happening before I write a single line of dialogue or description. If this works, my subsequent drafts will hopefully go a bit easier.

Will it work for me? I don't know. Seem worth trying? Heck yeah. I'll do just about *anything* to get these damn stories out of my head quicker, smoother, and closer to what I see playing on that Private Theatre for One...

PS. Those note cards are all filled in now, but I just had to go with this photo. Just like his siblings, Buddy is much mended and now up to the task of helping me write!

13 comments:

Angie said...

Good luck with the new system. I'll keep a set of virtual fingers crossed for you. :)

Angie

Holly xxx said...

aww he so helpy! Or, this could be his attempt to sabotage any creative art, just like his mischievous siblings who, at any opportunity will sit on the book you're reading, laptop keypad, canvas etc. Worldwide cat conspiracy...

Charles Gramlich said...

Yeah, it looks like he's really getting his whole body into this one.

SQT said...

Oh man, I sympathize. I write notebooks full of notes, synopsis etc. Helps but also bogs me down.

Barbara Martin said...

I tried cards once, and then discovered a chart system from Writers Digest that stays on the computer (or prints out).

writtenwyrdd said...

I get several hundred cards written, because in writing hte cards I get all sorts of IDEAS. But I think a combination of pantsing and outlining (via cards or whatever method works for you) is a good thing.

cs harris said...

Ah, yes; how could we spread out our plot cards without our little four footed friends to help us rearrange them?

Good luck with the plotting. I was virtually pantsing Babylon because I'd only done a minimum of plotting at the proposal stage and thought I'd see what happened if I tried winging it.

Now I know.

Steve Malley said...

Angie, so far, so good with the new system. Of course, I haven't hit that Great Flabby Middle yet, where I'm sure the work is just godawful...

Holly, when she was little, Midge used to lie down on wet comics pages!

Charles, he is indeed! One dedicated patron of the arts, that boy...

SQT, that's my worry. So far, so good though!

Barbara, I like that tactile feeling of the cards. Not so I'd have as much fun if they were on a screen.

Steve Malley said...

writtenwyrdd, that's actually a problem I have pantsing along-- I keep getting new ideas, and the story wanders all over hell and gone. Plotting it out like this is supposed to help keep me on track...

CS, that is indeed *exactly* what happens. Pretty much every time! Not the most practical method, I know.

Lana Gramlich said...

Good luck with the new system & thanks for sharing the photo. Peace!

Shauna Roberts said...

Tell Buddy for me that he's quite handsome. He certainly caught on how to be a writer's cat quickly.

Kate S said...

How funny, I've been trying that lately myself. It's a whole new world for we "pantsers." But at least Buddy is helping. My cat isn't so accomodating.

Sidney said...

I'd kind of forgotten the pantsers discussion. I'm working from an outline now, but I still find spots whereI have to figure things out, how to keep the story rolling, in spite of the advance planning. So it goes.