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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Setting outline

I had a look at the Writing the First Draft in 30 days website. There was a rather useful article about muses -- basically about making the muse your slave, rather than the other way around. In other words -- slow and steady wins the race. If you sit down at the keyboard, every day at the same time, the Girls in the Basement will start realising that you expect them to do their job...

Now Karen Wiesner speaks of writng several different outlines. A character outline -- how do the characters grow and change during the novel. A plot outline -- what events need to happen during the novel and a setting outline -- where do the events occur. Plus a free form summary of the beginning, middle and end. After she has done this, she pulls it all together into a formatted outline with outline capsules --giving day the scene takes place, chapter and scene number, POV for the scene, additional characters in the scene, location, the approximate time and a free form draft of what happens in the scene.

I had not thought to outline my book according to setting before. It is an intersting concept. Where does this action need to take place? Bearing in mind Donald Maass' injunctions that setting should serve dual purposes, I can see how outlining your novel in this way would work. For example in PBB, I need to make sure the action happens in enough places that the flavour of Rome is given, but not so many that it becomes a travelogue. It also means you can use the location for comparisons and contrasts and to build a sense of mood. I suppose it also shows you very rapidly if you have too many drawing room type scenes in your novel.

I see Michelle Willingham is goig to join me on my quest. It will be interesting to see how much different people get out of it, as there is no right way to write a book.

I have been reading the Beau Brummell book and have been learning lots about men's fashion. Skin tight pantaloons means they did not wear drawers. Men had to decide which side they wanted to dress on.even to this day, one trouser leg in a suit is made slightly larger than other so that men can shove their tackle to that side. It is a very entertaining book and a differnet way of looking at the Regency. It dovetails nicely with my Georgette Heyer book.


Michelle said...

What I've done so far is take my revised synopsis and I'm breaking it into chapters 1-25. The last half of the synopsis divides fairly easily into the last 5 chapters or so (of course it's pretty stark since the subplot isn't there). But I thought it would help me to see where things need to go. I'm also re-reading to see where the novel starts to go off track and that's the part where I'll start the revisions and outlining. I don't want to mess up the good parts I do have.

Love the Beau Brummel information! Too funny.

Michelle Styles said...

When I am working from my synopsis, I tend to break it down in chapters, genrelly pen marks. With Gladiator's Honour I can remeber one sentence in the synopsis becoming three chapters...The problem now is that my synopsis are one page long, and much of the subplots etc are of a necessity cut out.
Another problem can be that sometimes a good bit no longer fits, and then one has to cut.
There was a bit on the writing the first draft in 30 days about outlining an already written novel and then revising that, I seem to recall.