Monday, May 30, 2005

Even more structure

I'm on a structure kick right now. Rosina Lippi had a perfectly timely entry on her Storytelling blog about documenting all the scenes in the novel she is currently working on, Queen of Swords. So I have set myself two projects to begin (and probably not finish) before the rugrats return this afternoon:

1) I will go through my Strange Animal manuscript and document all the scenes with the point of view and current or anticipated length. I'll be doing it on an Excel spreadsheet rather than fiddling with the formatting of my Word document (I'm pretty sure the way Lippi is doing it would facilitate moving back and forth from scene map to text more easily, but I've had some bad experiences with the formatting function in Word and don't want to spend a ton of time undoing autoformatting gone awry).

2) I will set myself some homework and document all the scenes in a model book, in this case Carol Shields' The Stone Diaries. I chose this book mainly because it follows a woman from before her birth to her death which is what I'm doing with Gert. Shields makes some wonderful surprising detours (like following Magnus Flett to the Orkney Islands--who saw that coming when his character first appeared in the novel?) which could have back fired into irrelevant digressions and instead help the story to transcend the anticipated linear structure. She never forgets that she is writing fiction, not biography, and thus these imaginative flights enhance her project.

Time to make more coffee and start some fun data entry.


Anonymous said...

I thought of you as soon as I read Sara/Rosina's entry on scene mapping. It sounds as if you're making real progress; congratulations! And I think you make a great point about Shields' work in the Stone Diaries. Can't wait to hear more about your novel!

Anonymous said...

I did something similar with my novel, created sort of an outline so I could keep track of what was happening when. I think it helped, but I will say that when it comes to things like taking notes or sketching character bios or "exercises" like that, I have very poor discipline. I might do such things from time to time, but I almost never go back and refer to them. In fact, I usually forget where they are. Perhaps simply the doing of them is of some help and what you gain is still there in your mind, somewhere, as you set out again to write, even if it's not in front of your face. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

freddyknits said...

Interestingly I started reading the Stone Diaries this weekend.