One piece of advice that I received from two instructors at the workshop was to SLOW DOWN. Story is plot; what happens next. I read that way and I write that way. So guess what? I write fast and skip the side details as I race for the finish. (How the hell did they know I write like that?!)
I picked up an anthology and read a short story and made myself read slowly. I noticed the details, body language, setting, etc, that added to the story. Then I got to work planning my story. I learned in doing this, that my visual of the story is not complete. I see the action, I see what the characters are doing, but they are more ghostlike and the setting is equally ghostlike. I need to watch the scene a few times, filling in those telling details before writing.
And just to throw a wrench into things, I decided to use my digital recorder. I knew the outline of the first scene (which took place in a car, interestingly enough) and dictated my scene on the way to work.
That afternoon, I transcribed/documented the dictated scene. As I typed it up (frequently hitting pause) I found myself adjusting the sentences and adding in the additional description that I missed the first time around.
Then I ran out of time. The instructor asked for a story by Friday (my VP homework assignment!) and I really wanted to get it to him. So for the next two scenes, I went back to my ‘natural’ method of writing. Outline the scene then write it fast fast fast.
The quality of this first draft is seriously confusing. It’s like one person wrote the first scene and someone else wrote the rest.
I do need to slow down. The digital recorder forced me to do that, but it isn’t the only method. It just forced me to use the advice I was given. Advice that was DEAD ON.
Thanks Bear, thanks Jim. And maybe Sherwood too? It’s starting to all blend by now.