Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Another Good Writing Book
I went to the library the other day and like most writers I like reading "How to" books to get some ideas. I found a copy of First Draft in Thirty Days by Karen S. Weisner. I didn't really care about a first draft in thirty days (NaNo cured me of that) but it looked like it had some pretty good organizational tips. I was not disappointed.
Weisner calls it the Thirty Day Method and breaks a monthly calendar down to days. What she refers to as a first draft is an outline. But it is so detailed and filled with enrichment that, yes, it will definitely sound like a first draft.
What I appreciated that helped me see what she was talking about is that she used an actual book (The Lovely Bones p.20) and used that work to do a character sketch using one of her worksheets. She continues using other novels as examples to emphasize worksheets throughout the book.
One of the hardest things for me is keeping track of subplots and giving my characters the extra things that give them depth. Organizing and working the way Weisner suggests has already been a real help in that area. The writer starts out doing the basics but as the days pass and the work progresses lots of rich details are added.
When covering plot she talks about understanding story threads, story goal, subplot threads, tension, release, black moment (climax), resolution, and after effects of resolution but she emphasizes:
"Go into as much detail as possible on your plot sketch, but keep in mind that your first pass will be light on details. Don't worry. Over the next twenty-seven days, it will grow significantly."
With her method, she confidently states that revisions will be much easier because you revise the outline instead of the manuscript. It's an intriguing idea and I have come away with lots of good ideas to put into effect but whether I try the whole thirty day method is still debatable.