Sunday, August 1, 2010

Discovering discovery

For the last several months I've been writing strictly from outlines, but, looking back on what I wrote in June and July, I'm starting to see that a lot of very flat characters (not to mention narrative voice) sprouted from that style. I really like outlines, and using them these past few months allowed me to practice writing backwards, which hulked out my finales and made my stories feel polished--plot-wise--from beginning to end. But, when I combed through two months of short stories, I also realized that my characters needed some--mayhaps a lot--of work.

And so: discovery writing. It certainly is a lot of fun to grab an idea and go with it, without worrying about how the thing will pan out in the end; but I have an innate fear of proceeding without a fully formed idea. Nonetheless, practice is what I needed, and I'm glad I dove in. I think the overall tone and voice produced by discovery writing is, in my case, much more personal and authentic--i.e., a lot more cussin', jokesterism, and absurd literary wanking. Also: cool monsters, technogadgetery and non-scientific intergalactic titillation shows. And, by pausing and stepping back at the "I-need-a-breather" (read: "I-am-out-of-ideas") mark in the discovery process, I've found that I can swiftly cobble up a sweet ending inside my head, slam the return button a few times, hash it out, and then return to developing the story until I reach that final section.

So, another writing technique has been added to my repertoire. I'm hoping that my characters will become thicker and more true-to-life as I continue to try and discovery-write my next few tales.

-bn

1 comment:

  1. Ah, discovery writing. I have to admit, it is my method of choice. But there really is something to be said for being able to create different stories using a different methods. Its all about finding what works for you.

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