Sunday, June 18, 2006

Ruminations, Outlines, Sifting & Writing (Part One)

I often enjoy taking a walk with my Golden Retriever, Rainbow, in the park of the "Valley of the Cross" which stretches quite a distance in the middle of Jerusalem. It is often, and this I like, a solitary walk, where Rainbow is free to romp along the various paths, and I can set my own pace, without having to meet anyone and be social. During the hot summer months the Valley of the Cross and its adjacent Sakker Park are usually fairly empty during the hot afternoon hours, until late afternoon at 4 or 4:30 PM. It is during those hot hours that I enjoy walking, knowing full well I am not going to meet a soul in my wanderings.

It is on these walks that I often plan out stories in my head, and actually outline my next Novel. I am not a big fan of writing out outlines, somehow that does not work for me. The only time an outline ever became critical for me, and thus I worked hard on it was in my fantasy work of The Chronicles of the Children of Heaven of which I have mentioned in one of my posts and I will get back to it on the by-and-by. Writing complicated fantasy literature, where the settings are in three venues, 1) Heaven 2) Earth & 3) Hell, takes a great deal of planning. However in most if not all of my other works my outlining time actually takes place somewhere deep inside of me in a certain method of which I am only vaguely aware.

When I have an idea for a story, for instance right now I am working on a short-story entitled "Loneliness" (the name I am pretty sure will change), I started out by thinking this should be a story where I want the reader to feel the desolation of my protagonist who is satisfied with his life, but finds himself terribly alone in his own mind. I had the way I wanted to present the story, and I still do, but then other ideas came to mind, clouding and pushing away the original, moving towards different scenes, different ideas, until I realized that I had actually created two distinct short stories in my head, both of which were around the same theme of loneliness. What if, I asked myself, what if I went beyond the word limit for the moment and combined these stories and scenes into one? Or maybe create two, both showing diametrically opposed ideas for the state of loneliness. What I do then is usually NOT sit down to the computer and write. I am of the old school, an old geezer, and though my handwriting is absolutely horrendous, I usually write out first drafts, with all their mistakes, and meandering paths, into a notebook. Once I have this notebook, and the ideas down, ONLY THEN, will I sit down at the computer with the notebook in front of me, begin to copy it in, change, edit, add, delete and move around everything that was originally in that notebook. That is how I start my stories, with my caveat. The first thing I always write is the ending paragraph or section. For me that is critical. I must know, it is imperative for me to know, where I am going to end up. Where I am going to take my reader. That is critical for the whole process. And most of the time (indeed over 90% of the time) if my story is not a retelling of a legend it will have roots in something that I have personally experienced. Which brings me back to my walk through Valley of the Cross...and what happened there the other day...... And for that my dear readers you will have to wait for Part Two (and maybe even Parts Three and Four of these posts!)

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Categories: short stories, writing, on writing series
Ruminations, Outlines, Sifting & Writing (Part One)

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2 comments:

Pass The Torch said...

I can so relate to your solitary walks and how they provide your inspiration! For me it's usually the drive to pick up my kids from school. But then I have so much to remember and write down when I get home!

Very nice blog, by the way.

Leora said...

I caught in my feed you were using the Qumana banner. Thanks so much. Hope you like using Qumana!