I just finished “Writing into the dark” by Dean Wesley Smith, and I have to say, most of it, for me, is absolutely dead on….. or at least I assume so. Something I am well aware of here, before I even embark on my first writing is that, nothing is set in stone. That is actually something Smith talks about in the book. This and including the Snowflake Method book by Randall Ingermanson the writers mention how no single method is the best for every single writer, and no single step within a technique is correct for everyone. Of course, I think I am going to go with a mixture of these two methods.
Outlining in some linear fashion, to me, is an absolute necessity for non-fiction , because teaching someone something has a lot of importance on the order in which you teach them the various elements of whatever it is you are teaching them. For non-fiction, I have experienced its soul crushing power, and I am not going to let another idea get destroyed by it. I didn’t realize what outlining would do to an idea, or importantly, WHY, until I read Smiths book.
It is because the best part of writing, is the unknown, the storytelling. If you outline it, you literally read the story before you ever wrote it, and what fun is that? Though I knew something wasn’t quite natural with the idea of outlining a fictional idea, I couldn’t quite remember what had made me loved to write in the first place, until I remembered the feeling of just writing for the sake of writing.
The best take aways I get from Smith’s book is:
Don’t be afraid of uncertainty.
Don’t be afraid to write extra.
Write what you want to read.
Do not involve the critical voice
Now, in Smith’s book, he mentions only writing for one final draft, meaning, you should correct and inject and edit as you go, with the intention of never rewriting. I think this is malarky. Of course, I have very little experience in finishing a novel, but I think for now, I am going to focus on creativley getting to the end of a story, and editing later. For instance, if I am into a scene and realize I needed to set something up earlier, i am going to use brackets and leave a note. If I know there is a specific term for something , I will leave a note in brackets and keep going. If I rewrite a scene on accident, or get midway through a scene to have a realization that it might not be needed, finish it anyways. I think that allowing the creative mind absolute control and freedom is the most important thing.
From the snowflake method, I really think the first few steps are super important.
So, my method will be as follows ( subject to change immediately ):
- One line synopses
- Protagonist development
- Antagonist development
- One Paragraph Synopses
- Other Character Development
- One Page Synopses
- Three to Five Day Waiting period
- Go Over ( notes , make changes )
- Edit, ReWrite
- Find Plotpoints , Develop Outline, See if something is missing ( NO FORCING )
- Final Rewrite
- Beta Readers