Notes to Self: The Cunning, Chapter 3

Sometimes when I'm drafting, I have to do a quick outline or write other notes to myself to figure out what happens next. I guess I could just write the draft and change the stuff that doesn't work, but these notes help me brainstorm. They're also a way to trick my inner editor into thinking I'm not really writing, and therefore don't need his "services."

This bit's from the chapter I recently finished in The Cunning. Suriya and her aunt move to Chiang Mai after the villagers in their last home became frightened of Suriya's strange powers. Suriya's aunt hopes that a big city will be easier to hide in.

The beginning of this scene needed to show the passing of time, what happened for Suriya in her three months living in the big city. I didn't want to start with exposition, but I had to write it out just so I knew what happened. So I did it in a quick outline. As you can see, I didn't trick my inner editor at all (yes, these are my actual notes):

  • Suriya learned a lot over the next three months, perhaps more than she'd ever learned in her life.
    • She learned that Thai food only cost twenty-five Baht.
    • She learned Kham Muang, and enough English, German, and Chinese that she could avoid the kinds of problems so-and-so, the other server, had on the first day they came to the guest house.
    • She learned what a bargirl was.
    • She learned how boring this exposition was. Why? She's just happy and learning stuff, but NOTHING'S HAPPENING IN THE STORY!

8 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

Oh Innner Editor! Always there when we don't need you! And frequently looking the other way when an embarrassing typo creeps into a blog post or comment.

Amie McCracken said...

Lol. I have random notes like that after my first edit of my manuscript. Darn parts of the story that do nothing!

writtenwyrdd said...

That is such a great technique. I learned to call it free writing, and I've found that, when I use it, I can get the gist of a scene down easily instead of feeling like I'm run through a wringer. It's rough, but it's THERE.

Adam Heine said...

Agreed, wyrdd. Usually it works really well. I think it only breaks down when my inner editor notices major problems (e.g. the whole scene is boring).

Myrna Foster said...

I used to do this on post-it notes, but then my two-year-old started stealing the notes. Now I actually type it into the draft and erase it when I've written the real scene.

Adam Heine said...

Heh, that's exactly how I do it, Myrna (type then erase). Every once in a while I do some background thinking in said notes, and I want to keep them. So I drop them in a different doc before deleting them from the MS.

Susan Quinn said...

LOL! Your free writing is waaay more organized than mine. My attempts to "outline" a chapter resemble a rambling teenager: "Like, OMG, then she totally smacked him and ran off with his friend. Snap!"

Adam Heine said...

Just comes down to voice I guess, Susan :-)