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What Writerly Thing Did You Learn Today?

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I saw this question on the 4theWords forum and thought it would be a nice discussion piece to bring here. Whether you are just starting out, or are already very knowledgeable, we are always learning. Maybe you found a cool outlining tool or piece of advice, or maybe you learned something about your own process. Or maybe you just found a cool fact or bit of trivia about a favourite book. Share it here so we can celebrate new knowledge!

For myself, I'm learning that I don't like outlines that go into super crazy detail as far as scene outlines go, but I DO like a lot of character backstory and exploration before I start.

I also learned that Garth Nix (one of my favourite authors) is working to get a TV show of his Old Kingdom series, which would be AMAZING.

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Well, I just got up, so I haven't learned anything writerly today, but the most recent thing I learned (or arguably relearned) was that, as a pantser, I can't stick to an outline.  I am definitely a gardener type of writer, and my outlines are like trellises.  They're good for the story to climb onto, but once it gets big enough, I need to let it go where it wants to go and save the trimming for editing after the first draft is complete.

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I'm still struggling with getting a better overview of my novel outline, so to avoid having to roll out a huge piece of paper on my floor and fill it in by hand (Ugh!) I did a bit of googling today for outlining Middle Grade novels.

Turns out that J.K. Rowling has a way of outlining that looked good, which was super-easy to emulate with the Web-layout and tables in my word processor. The blog post connected to it wasn't giving me much, but the image of the transcribed outline for some of the chapters in The Order of the Phoenix was very helpful:

transcribed-rowling-outline.png

https://writelikerowling.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/transcribed-rowling-outline.png

It really worked well for me, because I could see gaps in my outline and it was easier to see what I could add to lean chapters. So today I learned about, and copied, the J.K. Rowling method. :)

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21 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

urns out that J.K. Rowling has a way of outlining that looked good, which was super-easy to emulate with the Web-layout and tables in my word processor. The blog post connected to it wasn't giving me much, but the image of the transcribed outline for some of the chapters in The Order of the Phoenix was very helpful: 

This is really interesting! It looks like a good way to keep all the subplots in order, as well as the time line. Makes me want to experiment and try it for my story.

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I haven't even had a chance to do anything writing related (...yet? Depends on how much energy I have) today, so I haven't really learned anything, other than that I'm definitely in the mode where I'm overthinking things when it comes to Court of Shadows, and I'm starting to second guess some things...which is bad since those "things" have to do with the main plot. Ugh. But I was trying to work on an outline/stream of conscious-type summary the other night and it was just...not going well. 😐

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I've learned that it's hard to transcribe things without fixing them.  I don't know how useful it was to learn, but I learned it all the same.

I also learned that by transcribing what I wrote in the past I can better appreciate the things I write in the present.

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Just now, Mynoris said:

I've learned that it's hard to transcribe things without fixing them.  I don't know how useful it was to learn, but I learned it all the same.

I also learned that by transcribing what I wrote in the past I can better appreciate the things I write in the present.

I learned this a long time ago, sadly, and I really wish I had just followed through and transcribed what I could. The stories I'm thinking of are the early ones that I've mentioned 1,000 times, the ones that I wrote when I was a kid and were terrible, both story-wise and spelling/grammar-wise. I did try to transcribe them a few times, but I didn't get very far because I kept getting hung up on things that, as I tried to type them up, my brain was just saying "oh my god, this is so bad, I should not be doing this," and I wish I hadn't listened. So, basically, be glad you're doing this, because like you said, you can appreciate the things you're writing in the present much more, and also see how far you've come. I can really only do that based on what little memory I have of those stories at this point.

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41 minutes ago, Mynoris said:

I've learned that it's hard to transcribe things without fixing them.  I don't know how useful it was to learn, but I learned it all the same.

I had a similar thing with the editing I did today. It was hard to just leave myself comments and keep reading instead of stopping and fixing the thing RIGHT NOW.

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I recently found that I have a rather...rigid approach to outlines. Some authors tend to write bullet points or basic summaries and go from there, but not me apparently. I think this stems from my essay writing, as I wrote extensive and complicated outlines with notes upon notes and footnotes upon footnotes. I don't have a problem with my method - I just think it's out-of-place lol.

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8 minutes ago, Skya said:

I just think it's out-of-place lol.

Maybe more less common than out of place? Its a perfectly valid way of outlining. I fully understand the need to have a thorough, methodical approach to a problem 🙂

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