Sunday, January 27, 2013

Writing is like Sports...metaphors.

Lately, editing/re-writing is going at snails pace. Now that I have a better handle on what story my characters are telling the struggle becomes how to tell it. How do I organize it? Which point of view would tell it best? What do I leave or take out? Will this story ever be coherent? Is the question that tops the list.

So to be honest I have been reading much more than writing. It seems easier until my characters remind me they have something to say. Their unfinished business looms around me and their (annoyed) voices push me to keep at it until the story becomes clear.

A friend recently suggested to me that outlining was helpful to direct and focus his story. The word "outline" practically jumped at me in bold letters. Hmm, why had I not really thought of this before?

I have notes, diagrams and numerous scribblings of gathered thoughts but nothing organized, nothing which resembles anything like an outline. I think last outline I wrote was for a paper in college about history or something much less thrilling than my story. Yet, this word, the idea of organization revealed much more than my lack of clarity. It showed my inappropriate approach.

To make sense of this revelation in terms I could understand I naturally turned to sports. A short story is like running a 5k or maybe a 10k, it takes some planning and training but not nearly as much as a marathon.  3.1 miles is much different than for 26.2. Some of the process may be the same but what is needed to complete 5k is like the ground work for finishing a marathon. And with that I understood the time as come for me to approach writing this story like its marathon.

I need a plan. I need an outline. Because it's not a 5k...I mean short story. It's a novel.