Friday, November 28, 2008

A New Method

I'm trying something new for this book. I've noticed on the previous two books I've written that when I'm drafting the storyboard of a book, I get a lot of specific ideas for each scene--ideas that don't often fit onto the note cards I use. Previously, I've trusted my memory to remind me of these tidbits when I get to the scene. I've experienced pretty good success with that method, though often I remember something I wanted to include in a scene once I'm past it, and then I have to go back in the editing phase to add it in.

This time, as I wrote out the storyboard, I titled each scene and created a corresponding section in my notebook for that card. In my notebook, I've written down all the ideas that came to me about the scene that wouldn't fit on the card. This includes everything from short thoughts like "Madison should have a bruise, which Rose should make fun of" to extensive conversations and descriptions.

Then, before I write the scene, I go back to those notes, look them over, and add anything new that comes to mind. I also think about the goal of the scene at this time. If I don't have a goal in mind, I find that my writing tends to meander. I ask myself a series of questions: What's the importance of the scene? What are the main emotions of the characters? What are their motives? Is there anything to be foreshadowed or anything that needs to be carried over from a previous scene? Once I have all that jotted down (this can take only a few lines or a whole page), then I begin to write.

I'm finding that I really like this method. It's like a warm up before a workout. By the time I place my fingers over the keyboard, I'm primed to begin and ideas are already swimming through my head. It beats staring at the screen or restarting the same scene over and over again.

The only unfortunate thing about this new method is that I started it about 75 pages into the book. Those first 75 pages are going to need a lot more edits than the rest of the book. However, it was a good lesson learned, and I'll be able to see if all this preplanning really does help on the first round of edits.

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