Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Taco Week (and outline struggles)

"You've been doing it for a week! How are you at the "I'm wasting my life" point already?"

"I'm not. I'm at the 'irrationally panicking about wasting my life after a week' point already."

Writing can be hard. And sad. 

I'm about half-way through with my outline. For those of you keeping track, this is the same outline which was finished in December, but thanks to collaboration, I've decided to go in a new, more innovative direction with my story. And that means a whole new outline, because hey, crossing horses mid-stream (or in my case, crossing story lines after 2 detailed outlines, 5 completed chapters, and 17 semi-usable segments) is the most logical, efficient way to go about things.

right? right. 

Over the past 3 days, Addie and I have had great, solid brainstorming and peer review sessions to come up with ideas on how to redefine genres, as re-defining the genre we're writing in is a primary goal for both of us. Our talks have helped me to see my story line's flaws or cliches, so I'm confident that the changes I'm making are really making my work stronger and innovative. But... even though I don't hate what I'm working on, (it's been a brain child of mine for at least 2 years) I'm still looking at my pile of ideas and thinking... when did Lifetime TV for Women have a poseur baby with Bret Easton Ellis and pin it to my white board?

The big issue here is that I'm pulling myself out of my old writing habits. Actually, it's more like pulling myself out of my old mentality, which was just writing and letting the story take me where I want to go--the whole "screw outlines! who needs outlines!" (the mentality that destroyed 2 potential NaNoWriMo wins, and moreso, hindered me through out all stages of academia.) I'm used to writing short stories, where writing wild and blind isn't a bad way to go. But for a novel, with 3 "acts" and lots of "characters" who are supposed to be "dynamic" and have "depth"... I decided it might be easier to fly with a co-pilot; i.e. outline.

Also, there's this John Irving quote, which is simultaneously right/inspiring/embarrasing 

Know the story before you fall in love with your first sentence. If you don’t know the story before you begin the story, what kind of a storyteller are you? Just an ordinary kind, just a mediocre kind – making it up as you go along, like a common liar. 
So I'm trying not to be a common liar, and actually build my story before I start writing it. And it's a little frustrating, mostly because I'm not used to working this way, but really, because I don't have a wall made entirely out of white board. And while I seemed to outline Act I in record time on day 3, Day 4 (yesterday) I spent what seemed like 8 hours staring at a single chapter summary with this expression

It literally took all day to get half of Act II laid out. The day ended up with 2 AM grilled cheese sandwiches and brain drain. And today when I sat down with new resolve to just GET TO WORK, DAMNIT THE SOONER THE OUTLINE IS DONE, THE SOONER YOU CAN START WRITING, I got nothing. Brain drain.

Hence, why today I've done nothing but watch The Shield and eat taco's.  

But it'll get better. I just have to 

oh, and Addie made damn fantastic taco's tonight, with enough taco meat and fixin's to last all week. 



Krista said...

write my thesis proposal for me (I'll GIVE you the outline), please?? heh

Krista said...

write my thesis proposal for me?? I'll GIVE you the outline :) heh

Illustrious Brown said...

What's the story in this three-act, gender-, I mean genre-, bending masterpiece.

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