Monday, December 21, 2009

New Strategy

It's been forever since I've attempted to write fiction. Even longer since I've gotten anything substantial written. So, I decided that I needed a strategy change.

Before, I switched between two "strategies" for writing fiction. First, I'd wait until I got an idea. Then, I'd either just start writing, or write a really basic outline (~1 page) that told me where I was headed with the story, and then start writing.

Yeah, I know, not a lot of strategy. But, it worked sometimes. And sometimes it didn't. But that's the way things go.

I've decided to write fiction again, with a different strategy.

The first part of this strategy directly fights my short attention span and inability to finish anything that could be called a novel. I'm writing short stories. But, it's still one story: interconnected short stories are a way to deal with my short attention span, and writing something that's kind of a novel, too!

The second part of this strategy is making myself use ideas that already exist instead of waiting for one to float into my head. I printed out twenty-five semi-randomly-selected Postsecrets that I liked. I cut them out and shuffled through them, seeing which ones might fit together into the same story. Then, I put the piles of secrets, each pile representing one story (and the number of secrets ranging from one to six), into an order, making sure that one character or setting from each story could jump into the next (connecting all the stories, in ways to be defined further once I actually started writing). I made each of the nine stories a page in a spiral notebook, and taped in the secrets.

The third part of the strategy is planning. I'm not yet finished with this stage. The idea is, each story gets a second page in the notebook, where I write out the characters and major plot points, sort of a summary page.  I also note the connections to other stories. Part two of the planning stage is writing a more detailed outline for each story, and further exploring the connections between the stories.

And, all the strategy in the world is worthless if you don't actually get some writing done. The actual writing is part four. Cross your fingers that it'll actually happen!

And of course, if part four is completed, part five is editing. I'll be thrilled if I get here. Ecstatic, really. Wish me luck!

I'm excited about this project. I'm sharing here because I think the Postsecret idea could be useful to someone else searching for inspiration. I got my secrets from the current website, this archive website,   and this other archive website.

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