Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guest Blog: Finely Tuned Jet Engine Of Imagination

Finely Tuned Jet Engine Of Imagination
By James H. Peterson III
Executive Director, Founder, Louisville Creative Centre, Inc.
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I have been cursed with the finely tuned jet engine of imagination.

Outlines, first chapters, and fleshed out character sketches out number completed draft manuscripts.

One idea crowds out another, each more voluminous than the last.

Everything I see, feel, think, become fodder for story, changing, twisting, turning, until what was logical, developed, connected, has become overwrought. All other issues are logistical, and editorial, all of which are easily fixed given the prospective of time, and the dry no none sense acumen of a college composition teacher dispassionately reducing percentage for missing citations, run-on sentences, and the overly frequent use of the passive voice.

So, dear Sir, I ask that no matter what ye find familiar here, pass this missive over, for focus is nothing to be counseled.

Focus can only be won by the final volley of these silver bullets:

1) Never, never, never line edit before a "finished" draft is done. If you are taking a university course, go with the herd and write a short story. Otherwise, novelists should never edit while working a draft manuscript.

2) Never out-line until the draft is "finished." Only then go back with your outline and reconcile plot conflicts.

3) Settle your character cast early, and do not add, or delete characters until the editing phase is the only work you are doing.

4) Never turn on your email, or internet while composing. If you need a particular reference "MAKE AN IN-CONTEXT NOTE OF IT," and move on. Never disrupt flow for a particular detail that can easily be inserted, fabricated, or deleted later.

Optional but Highly Recommended: Get an improv group to act out your story treatment. Even if only done once, that can help more that you can possibly imagine. Alternatively, rip out your dialogue later, and have that read. This will help almost as much, but should only be done after one enters fully into the editing phase.

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