Morning, y'all! I am back! By "back" of course, I mean back in the writing groove. It's great to have that feeling of the words flowing out of me again, clicking away their monotone symphony on the keyboard.
But there's a problem that comes with getting back into the writing groove and that's the extra fluff. Fluff I really don't need when the writing should be tight and precise. I'm halfway through the story, and know this is not the place to go off writing a Melvillean style treatise on whaling, er, I mean the history of the Parisian cabaret, no matter how much I want to.
Some of you might be saying, who cares? You can trim all that excess fluff during the second draft. Just write the first. I would, but that's just not how my brain works. If I go off on a tangent, start writing by the seat of my pants, I wind up with lots of fluff, and no substance, no story. At least, not a story anyone wants to read.
So instead of using a strict outline, I like to quickly jot down scene goals before I begin to write. It can be only one or two sentences, like this:
This keeps me on the right track, while at the same time, leaves me free to make any other decisions I want to once I'm writing. It's less like a map, and more like a compass. Do I always fulfill my scene goals? No, but they keep me honest, keep me thinking critically about the plot and what needs to occur to move the story along. Or else we risk winding up with four pages on how the Moulin Rouge wound up closing in 1896, yada, yada, yada...
Mara must free Georges from the store-room. He and Mara look for Alex.
So you see, it's plotting, but it's not constrictive for you pantsers out there. And it helps you to analyze the plot as you are writing without planning too far ahead. One scene at a time.
Tune in tomorrow for details on The Hollow giveaway! Tell your friends. ;)