Thursday, December 6, 2012

Planning Ahead

I'll admit it, I used to be a worthless writer. In high school I received mostly A's. So, thinking all was well, in my junior year I took Advanced Placement Composition, a college level writing class. I received an "A" and decided to take the eighty-nine dollar test. A.P. tests are scored 1 through 4 with four being excellent, three being normal, two being poor, and one being awful.

I received a two on the test. POOR.

I remember being stunned that I had done so badly. My grades certainly didn't reflect the score I received, but my parents knew. They had known for awhile. They were not happy when I showed them my final portfolio. My parents went to the principal to complain about my good grades. It was plain to them that I didn't grasp some of the basic rules of English and therefore didn't deserve them. It was humiliating to say the least.

The next year, against the advice of my high school, I enlisted in a remedial English course for college students. That course taught me grammar, spelling rules, and how to compose a paper properly. She drilled into our heads that pen and paper helped you think while writing. She mandated we edit every paper we turned in. We had to have a first and second draft for every paper.

I haven't picked up The Classic Guide to Better Writing since then. Part of me was naive and embarrassed  I never wanted to face my weaknesses or pick up the book again. Reading the book reminded me how feeble my memory can be and that even after my remedial class it helps to review some of the rules.

The first chapter is about mapping a plan for what you want to write. It basically says while you might be able to deliver a message nobody will want to listen to the garbled mess you'd make up on the spot.

The last few weeks I've been producing notes and research on various things for my future novel The God Syndrome. While these notes will help me keep information short at hand, they won't help me write my story in a fluid fashion. They are a garbled mess that have no meaning by themselves. My story requires a fleshed out plot mountain. I have one I did when I originally thought of the story four years ago. However, that diagram is very basic and doesn't help me know what I'll write in advanced or how I'll stitch together all the notes I've taken.

I think the last week of December I'll start fleshing out this plan. Making sense of the amalgamation of notes in my notebook. It will give me a good jumping point for those first 50,000 words in January.

I may have been a poor writer in high school but that won't hold me back now. I'm going to use every tool I know to make my writing enjoyable.

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