5.1 GB left of 8.7 GB. I’ve been sitting at my computer for a little bit now, staring at the progress bar in the hopes that it will magically move faster and faster in the ensuing moments. Since I’ve been doing this for a bit now (like I just said), it’s probably safe to assume that it’s going to take even longer to finish. So while the download is doing it’s thing and pissing me off, I figured I would jot down some thoughts in a stream of conscious manner to break the monotony of my latest string of “well-organized” posts.
In short, I want to talk about outlines.
I hate outlines. I hate writing outlines and I hate thinking about them. I come from a method of writing that involves turning on the writing program of choice and just vomiting as many words out as I can, hoping to touch upon a compelling narrative or two in the process. I like saving that organization thing for the second draft, where I have to put thought into stuff like theme or why making the side character a cat instead of a man is hilarious. No, really. It’s funny as hell.
But lately I’ve started to change how I see the writing process. Call it a writer’s puberty, if you will. Suddenly, I find that I can’t write anything unless it’s got a preset structure going in. Something that would have simply been a sit-and-write before has now become an exercise in meticulous planning. The change happened with the last script I wrote (which I have YET to revise). I decided to do things different from my usual method and write out an outline to focus my writing and get things done in a shorter period of time.
Well, it worked. In fact, it worked so great that I got it in my brain that outlining was a good thing. Now I can’t write any kind of story without drafting up a roadmap of all the things that need to happen in the story. The problem here is that I’m still the person from before who needs to jump right in and start hammering on the keyboard like there’s no tomorrow. I still need that freedom to take the story anywhere and develop the characters as I go along.
4.5 GB left.
God, I really hate outlines. I should probably finish the one I’ve started for my horror film.
Dudes (and Dudettes), I totally frickin’ did it!
I wrote a 50,000 word novel. That’s about 93 pages using your standard Times New Roman font and the basic margins set up by Microsoft Word when you open a blank document. Seven more pages and I could use one-fifth of a ream of paper to print out my novel. Reading my words would take a few trips if you took the public transportation here. So, now what? What happens now that I’ve done the unthinkable (or at least have done what I thought to be unthinkable..or doable)?
I think I’m going to take the next month or so and let the project simmer so I can get a feel if I want to actually do more with it or if it’s going to remain merely a means of cheap therapy. There’s not really that much of a plot to speak of, since it’s based loosely on me and my life after graduation. And every few thousand words I throw in something fictional to spice things up and make it readable on some level. But for the most part there’s a lot of incoherent ramblings about the craft of writing, which perhaps works well with the crazier parts of the story as one would have to be a bit nutty to fictionalize themselves.
The process of writing out this monstrosity was kind of interesting as I forced myself to write at least 2,000 words on average every day. On days I took off, I made up for it by doubling and in some cases tripling the word count. By the fourth week, I started to feel the strain of the deadline and let myself get a little looser in what I allowed on the page. But what I didn’t expect was that all this writing would spark my creative juices in such a dramatic way. I started going back to my other projects and re-examining them, planning on what I would do when I finished my novel. On one particular day, I even planned out another novel that I want to write. I imagine that there will be a NaJaWriMo or something in my future.
This fire to continue writing hasn’t stopped since I passed the 50k word limit. In fact, I wrote two short scripts on Sunday and outlined another project. And as you can tell, tonight I decided to blog a bit.
If I could impart some advice from what I’ve learned doing this whole project it would be that you just need to write. Don’t get hung up on whether it’s good or not. Tell your story and save the validity of it for draft two. Be as raw as you can be and you’ll find that the words come quite naturally.
But fuck poetry, because that’s just stupid. :P