Blue Water Writing: Note-taking and Narrating

To avoid making the mistakes that I previously made, I utilized many of the suggestions from Writer’s Digest, and I constructed an outline before writing the text.  Some of the choices that I made in the outline were not ideal. Making my narrator a cop seemed to make sense while outlining, but the choice felt restrictive during the narration of the story. In the second draft of the outline, I changed my first-person narrator – from a retired cop – to a retired camera operator.  With this change, the narration flowed, and the next 1000 words were more enjoyable to write.  

Image by Pikist

While that change worked, I eventually came across an issue with the logistics of a scene, and uncertain of where I was going, I constructed a third draft of the outline.  The details that I added were in the form of sketches. The pictures presented only bird’s-eye views, looked very messy, used arrows to represent the characters’ movements, and referred only to the scenes that I was struggling with.  With these details, the narration resumed, and I was satisfied with the quality of the text generated.  

Initially, I thought that an outline was the solution. With an outline, I’d pay up front and rip the band-aid off fast. As I confronted the challenging aspects of the plot in the outline, the writing process would feel less like climbing up a mountain and more like sliding down one. While the outline supported the story, it was the writing of the text that revealed the holes in the outline. The best approach for me might include a continuous back-and-forth between note-taking and narration.

2 thoughts on “Blue Water Writing: Note-taking and Narrating

  1. Good stuff. I was going to ask you if you made maps for your stories. I do when it's a place I've made up. I don't think I've ever used an outline. My stories tend to stray from their initial origins. Making an outline would be a waste of time.

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