Yoon is bored
Sorry, I'm taking today off after working through the weekend. Someone throw a meme at me, or writing process questions, or marry/shag/throw-off-a-cliff, or cute animal pictures? Otherwise I will be curled up on the couch reading Ender's Game
- recent ridiculous
By way of a friend, videos of kittens enacting Assassin's Creed
. Bwah. This one's for you, telophase
- recent reading
K.M. Weiland. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
. This is a middling novel-outlining how-to book. I bought it using leftover Amazon gift card points over the weekend because I needed popcorn reading. I have finally wound around to the point where how-to books on writing are amusing again. I'm very good at saying "F*** you" whenever I see something I violently disagree with or find stupidheaded. (What are they going to do? Give me an F for not following instructions?)
The short version, for those who want to skip the notes below, is that this is solidly mediocre. I wouldn't spend money on it (well, I
did, but you know what I mean) but if you have it in the library, it has a lot of useful basics.
Weiland thankfully avoids the most stupidheaded thing I usually see in these books, which is the THOU SHALT. Instead, she says at the beginning that while this is a book of tips and methods, you should experiment and use what works for you
Weiland's prose is honestly rather bland. It's useful to see her examples of outlining techniques that she used for her own novels, or brainstorming outtakes, etc., but based on this hell no would I ever buy one of her actual novels. (I mean, I could be wrong, maybe her novels are better than they sound, but I have tons of actually-interesting-sounding nonfiction to read, so why chance it?)
There's nothing earthshattering here, but there's a variety of reasonably solid tips and methods, including a few that I hadn't seen before. I'm sure most of you who care about these things are already familiar with the Enneagram, Patricia C. Wrede's Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions
[SFWA], character questionnaires, notecards, and the basic beats of story structure.
One feature I did enjoy was that the book includes a number of interviews with authors who use outlining, so that you can see that even here there is some variation of approach. (daedala
, one of the interviews was with Larry Brooks, haha.) Also, Weiland takes her examples from a variety of genres (sf/f, mystery, historical, etc.), which I appreciated.
I'm unlikely to switch my basic method for working up a chapter outline for a novel at this point, but some of the other stuff was entertaining. Really, I picked this up to have something fast and amusing to read while I was stuck at Joe's office waiting for him to be done with some work he was doing Saturday. We should hit up the library sometime so I can get amsuing writing how-to books out for free from there.
While I'm at it, why do I seem cursed to pick out how-to-write books that always have stupid, bland, boring made-up examples of plot/idea/theme things (as opposed to examinations of existing stories/movies/etc.)? I mean, the Brian Kitely writing exercise book was psychotic (in a terrifying yet highly entertaining way, I'm pretty sure one exercise was to excise one letter of the alphabet and write a story without said letter, I refuse to do the Oulipo thing so HELL NO) but at least it wasn't boring
. I mean, here's one bit from the book on "Structuring Your Story":
- Create an inciting event that forever changes the MC's [MC = main character] status quo. Rock the character's world in a way he didn't see coming. Perhaps his family is murdered. Perhaps he is caught cheating on an important test. Or perhaps he unexpectedly time travels twenty years into the future.
- Let the MC reach his goals....Perhaps he finds peace in the aftermath of his family's deaths. Perhaps, now having repented of cheating, he studies for the test, retakes it, and gets that A hhe needs. Perhaps he comes to grips with his new time-traveling power and uses it to improve his ability to live in the present.
One of the reasons I hate typical character questionnaires is that they're almost always full of junk that doesn't even apply to the setting/culture I'm writing about. Astrological signs, I'm looking at you.