Skip to main content

My Writing Method

Many people struggle with getting words onto the page, so I thought I'd share what I do. I've spoken about it before, but not given examples. I often write in layers, but sometimes I skip over several layers as I'll get inspired to write a scene. Getting started is often the hard part.

Layer One

Write the general idea of what you want to happen.

Example: Dog bites girl.

Layer Two

Expand on that. What kind of dog?

Example: The European boxer bit into the girl.

Layer Three

Spark the senses more.

Example: The brindle-haired European boxer snarled as he tore into her flesh.

Layer Four

Why do we care about a dog bite? Is the girl important?

Example: She never got over the attack. It followed her. There was always a dog at a house party, or even out on the sidewalk.

Layer Five

Have we been writing an inciting incident or has it actually been backstory? Probably backstory, but that doesn't mean we have to scrap it. Who is my character?

Example: Suzy had been on the West Hampton police force for five years now.

Layer Six

Put everything together.

Example: Suzy had been on the West Hampton police force for five years now. A call came in. Domestic dispute. She arrived at the scene. The woman was throwing plates at her husband. Cheating bastard, apparently. She tried to break it up. The family dog tackled her. That's when it got fucked up.

Suzy remembered the day that European boxer attacked her. The stench of its hot kibble breath against her face. She was a child then. The pain as the boxer's razor-teeth tore into her flesh. The metallic stink of her blood as it poured onto the rough gravel beneath her.

That wasn't happening again. The couple had continued screaming while she lay under their dog. She unholstered her gun and placed it in the dog's mouth.

She shouldn't have done that. Blowing that dog's head off stopped the argument, but it also ended her career. Now she had to spend time each week at an animal rescue to overcome her fear. It was her only chance at rejoining the force.

Editing

After I've written a bunch of scenes like that and have a finished story of whatever length I'm aiming for, I edit.

For the scene above, I'd probably start with Suzy arriving on scene in the middle of the argument. Maybe she ducks a plate. Maybe she raises her voice and that's when the dog tackles her. I might add dialogue, but only if it's important to the rest of the story. I might put the whole scene in a different tense. In present tense, we wouldn't know what was coming for any of the characters. I'd also add metaphor wherever I could to add another layer of depth.

I might actually develop this idea further. It started taking on a life of its own.

Ciao,
R~

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Gauntlet That Was October

I had a lot of things happen in October. I watched Frankenstein in the cemetery with friends. I had tea with a friend. I started a new sport: curling. This is really fun and I'm enjoying the level of activity it provides and all the strategic elements. I'll do a separate post on it soon. Unfortunately, soon after my first game, I came down with Covid and so did the friend who I had tea with, so I think we both caught it at the place we went to. That wasn't fun. I already posted about that. I was fortunate to be free of it in time to attend Can-Con where I took in lots of panels, saw some of the wonderful writer community, bought many new books, and volunteered to help out in the rooms. The following weekend, I went to the livestream for Danielle Allard's new album release, followed by the in person release. As part of this, she has a 6 video series that releases every Sunday on her YouTube at 1:15 PM EDT. Video number 2, Falling Into Place, is one that I feel fortunate

2023 - Week 40

I felt a touch rough on Monday. After exchanging some shoes, I needed electrolytes. The heat with the egg thing made me a bit nauseus. I had lots of fluids before having noodles for dinner. That made me feel better. When Tuesday came about, I was looking forward to what I might be learning at GSL curling in the evening. I was also excited to being on the ice as a break from the unseasonal heat. It's spooky season! It's supposed to be a cool and cuddly time. We should be wearing hoodies (or bunny hugs if you prefer). Instead, I was sweating in jeans as I simply walked from my condo building to my car. Wednesday's plan was streaming, but I also hoped to fit an exchange at Home Depot in as I got the wrong shelf size for a project. Really, my original plan for something didn't work, so I was choosing to go a different way. I did stream, but I didn't get to Home Depot. Thursday featured work followed by packing for my spooky weekend away with friends. I got my oil and my

The PWHL

I've gotten my season tickets for the inaugural season of the Professional Women's Hockey League. I had put my deposit down as soon as it was open. Am I a hockey superfan? No. I enjoy hockey. I started watching it quite a lot during my divorce. I also used to practice my slapshot against the foundation of our house when I was an angst-filled teen. I care about women in sport having amazing opportunities like this. Anyway, some people in the comments section on the posts are truly something. The league posted the schedule, which was more of a calendar without time blocks listed. They happened to post that on the day that priority purchasing was opened for the season tickets.  So then there are a bunch of people who didn't put deposits down that were complaining they can't buy tickets yet. Makes total sense ­čśĺ And then there were a bunch of other people complaining that nothing has been announced on the streaming and televisation of the games. Some were even suggesting th