Juicy prewriting for thirsty writers

I’m still having pen problems, but what can you do? Anyway, I’m working on this short story for an anthology. I’m having pen trouble so I’m experimenting with a new-to-me way to outline. This is a shorter piece, under five thousand words — which is like fifteen to twenty double-spaced pages depending on how you format it — I need to keep it pretty tight to make sure I tell the story I want to tell.

Normally in this situation I would outline it down to almost 200 or so word sections with bullet points and arrows and stars and a lot of exclamation points. After the messy outline, after I started writing, I’d probably revise the outline to go along with changes in the story and to have something that looks more satisfying.

One of my satisfying “nice” outlines with colors and washi tape and check boxes. Check boxes are sexy. (To me.)

See, I’m having this pen problem. It doesn’t flow. It’s not any fun to write with so I keep catching myself hesitating to write. Which is no good. I’m being fussy. Time for a change.

I did hand write a really basic outline. Actually I did it twice because my first wasn’t giving me the waypoints I needed for the journey. Because I’m being so fussy about handwriting, I didn’t hit on the detail I wanted to with the outline. I’m letting that go.

Witness my scribbles. Oh how I tried to get the damn pen to do its damn job. Damnit. Also spoilers I guess?

Next I opened my draft. I looked at the scene changes I have in my rough outline. I thought about how each of those scenes would start. Then, one by one, I wrote the one to four senteces of each important scene. Each bit is punchy, interesting, the sort of thing that grabs a reader (or me) and yanks them back in the story. BUT I stopped writing before I was satisfied with the passage. Sort of scribere interruptus — Sorry to anyone who actually reads Latin — That part is really important. Why? Because now I’m itching to finish the scene. I don’t know exactly how I’m moving from those opening passages, but I know where I’m going to next and that it’s juicy! I’m not always great with stick when life is otherwise killing me, but a good carrot is always worth the effort. Seeing those juicy, punchy, delicious scene starters just sitting there begging me to finish them off? Yeah. That’s good carrot.

The important caveat there is that these juicy little blurbs are temptation not reward. They’re darlings, meant to get you moving, feeling good, excited. I may have to kill some of them. As I go, I may find I need to focus on a different waypoint to keep the story going and a delicious bit of temptation has to go. That’s okay. I’ll drop them in a grave yard file and use them later or not. They’ve already served their purpose by making me write. That’s what actually matters.

Oh you sexy sexy temptations you… I should be writing RIGHT NOW!
Short version? Okay!

Juicy Prewriting for Thirsty Writer

• Make a barebones outline to tell you only the scenes you need to cover. Waypoints to where your story changes.

• Write a super juicy start for each scene/waypoint.

• Scribere interruptus!! Stop writing while it’s still unfinished! Ache to finish the section.

• Start writing like the wind, propelled forward by your thirst for the next juicy waypoint.

• Abandon the juice if you’re headed a different way. It’s already served its propose by getting to to write past it!

• Brag to your friends about how awesome your new outlining technique is and how many millions of words you wrote with it!

Cute summer time infographic version? Okay!

Who doesn’t like watermelons?

Quick bonus story starter for fiction writers. Ready? GO!

The big window in your living room? It just went “blue screen” like a computer glitched out. Has that window always been a computer screen?! Are all your windows just computer screens?! What is going on here?


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