fact 183 – purification

precisely no one has asked me this question, but since my novel is currently going through this process, i thought i might answer it anyway: How Doth I Write? well, we should start with the eternal question. no, not “What’s for dinner?” rather, Planning or Pantsing? that is, do i plan out, making an outline and actually forming characters before i start my draft, or do i just wing it and hope the gods bless me with something readable. i tried pantsing one year, but the story petered out way before 50k. so i tried planning the next year, but i way over-planned and got bored half way through. after a few years, i found my happy medium: – identify my beginning – identify my ending (or at least, the one i think i want, this is sometimes not the ending i finish with) – sketch a basic story arc (i’m talking super general, like, “Main character + love interest meet in first scene, they bicker like a married couple through entire first half of story, but bond over their mutual orphan status, and fall in love, only to be seperated by Big Evil Thing, and then they have to find their way back to each other just in time to Defeat Big Evil.”) – outline the first few scenes, just to get me started on Day 1, and if i know any other scenes, i’ll put general descriptions of these down on paper, too. then, come day 1, i’ll write whatever scene(s) i’ve got planned out, and then i’ll add my ideas for the next scene(s) to the outline. that way, i’m only planning two or three scenes in advance, so i don’t get bored, but i’m not totally pantsing either. after i finish the first draft, that’s when i do what most people would consider the major outlining and plotting and stuff. – i set the draft aside, often for a year or more. – before i even re-read it, i outline what i remember the plot being, which often isn’t What I Actually Wrote, but is always What I Thought I Was Writing, i.e. the Idealized Version. – i re-read the story, noting where it differs from my Idealized Outline, and either changing the scene to be in line with The Idealized Outline, or changing The Outline to match the story, if i think it’s that good. i also fix major problems at this stage, such as plot holes, inconsistancies, characters whose names changed halfway through the story, etc. – i go through the outline again, asking What If…? at every juncture. what if this character did this instead? what if X or Y happened instead? how else could we bring out Z’s personality/problems/conflict? once i’ve settled on my best choices, i more or less set the outline in stone, and rewrite the draft to match the outline. – then it’s the fine toothed comb passes, such as making sure people’s dialogue reflects things they’d actually say, assuring that the details i choose are details we actually care about, settings are adequately set-ed, etc. by this point, i’m usually several (dozen) drafts in, so it’s time for beta readers, and god help us all at that point. (^_^) or at least, god help my sister, who’s nose is currently buried in the thing. she’s here to make sure i don’t get discouraged. her advice to me tonight? a) “It’s /your/ writing, you don’t have to like it.” and b) “You put a book in front of me, of course I’m going to read it. Plus, I like your writing.” (^______^) and she’s laughed in the right places, and pointed out some moments where the stuff i know in my head didn’t quite make it to the page, etc, so i suppose i shall just have to move on from this “OH JESUS, SOMEONE IS READING MY STORY!!!1!!1!” feeling. (^^’) and so move on we shall. my air purifier broke last week. when i came home on friday, both my 3DS and my DS were out of batteries, so in looking for somewhere to plug them both in at the same time, i unplugged my old air purifier, only when i plugged it back in, it didn’t start up. me: *pushes power button* machine: *……* me: *clickaclickaclicka* machine: *drrrr* yeah. the lady who had this apartment before me had a cat that shed like, i don’t know, Something That Sheds, so i really need it. the following morning, my apartment smelled like moldy cat. *eww* so i spend saturday researching new air purifiers, and bought one from Target on saturday evening. it was $100, and it is super loud, but it’s air purifing power is actually much better than my old thing, so i’m okay with it. also, because my physician recommended it for my asthma, i can get reimbursed for the purchase from my HSA. yay health insurance! in other news… well, i guess i don’t have any other news, actually. or maybe i do, i just can’t remember since my sister is in the next room READING MY WORK. … (this post brought to you by NERVOUS.) .

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