I’ve probably forgotten more great ideas, witty lines of dialogue, or entire scenes than I will ever actually write. If I’m being entirely honest I had a completely different opener for this blog post that I have completely forgotten in the time it took me to get to my lunch break and be able to write this blog post.
Part of this is purely my own fault. The other I think sort of comes with the territory.
While I have gotten better about writing down ideas or concepts that doesn’t mean it helps. I cannot tell you the number of times I have written down the title of something that I think will help me remember the entire idea only to be sorely wrong. Right this very moment a note from 2012 has a title and a tagline, but I have no recollection of the plot for it.
“Roboworld: You're not repaired, you're repurposed”– I didn’t say it was good. I just wanted to highlight this flaw in my already poorly followed system.
For better or worse, I don’t write outlines. In high school and college when an outline for a paper was due I wrote the entire paper and then went back and created an outline from the completed piece. It might sound like extra work, but it is how my brain works. I figure if I’m taking the time to think out my process enough to write an outline, I might as well write the whole dang thing.
This writing process or lack thereof has followed me my entire career. When interviewing I am a diligent notetaker, handwritten. I only use a recorder if it is absolutely pertinent. But I don’t make an outline or a rough draft. My first draft is my true first draft.
Writing Roller Derby Vampire Girl was no different.
I’ve mentioned before, and will probably reference it again, but RDVG was first written as a weekly serial on Facebook notes. Most of the time when I sat down to write for the week I had little to no real idea of what would be in each chapter, the basic idea of the story, but no real direction on how I was going to get there. I let the story lead me.
When it came time for rewrites, a lot had to be cleaned up because of that haphazard philosophy, but there are some truly wonderful developments that happened organically during the process that wouldn’t have happened with a tightly structured outline.
For the sequel(s) to RDVG, I have been more of a notetaker. I now jot down full scenes when I am able and will put them in when I arrive at their intended time if they still work. They don’t always. I have a voice recording from 2013 of the basic plot and a few scenes on my phone of the third and final book in the trilogy. It came to me while I was on a three-hour drive by myself to meet my family on vacation, but I have yet to actually put anything related to the third book on paper, or document, as it were.
I write in google docs. I am an apple product loyalist and I don’t pay for Microsoft Word. It has also made for easier sharing and editing, making the collaborative process easier and feels somehow less intrusive. I would much rather see little green lines for changes than pages marked up with a red pen.
And I am deeply thankful to my editors. I consider myself first and foremost a storyteller and a writer second. I am more than happy to let someone correct some grammar for the betterment and ease of reading while still maintaining my writing style.
Readers, you can thank my editors for correcting split infinitives and clarifying so many subject-verb agreements.
I write as I speak, and if that isn’t all over the place, I don’t know what is.
What about you? Do you prefer and outline? Or do you like to fly by the seat of your imagination?