Sunday, June 12, 2011

Entry #2 or "Outlines and the Writers that Love/Hate Them"

As it turns out, I didn't dig any post-holes yesterday, which was just fine, being a damned-hot day. I instead did some more landscaping, this time around an in-ground fountain we have on the front patio. I had a small stack of the paver-stones I was using to build the walkway on same patio, so I used them to line the front of the fountain to give it a more interesting look. One of these days, I'll pry one of the cameras my family owns out of the bin and take pictures. But that day isn't today, dear readers.
During the Spring Semester at <a href="">Cochise College</a>, I took English 101. There, I learned how to do a formal outline. For those who aren't sure about what I mean, a formal outline is a method of gathering ideas for a written work, such as the research papers I wrote for the class, and organizing them in a fashion that makes it easy for the author to take the ideas and&#160; put them on the page. The formal outline method helped a lot, especially when I had to put off writing the paper until next-to-the-last-minute. Got an A in the class when all was said and done, so I can't knock it's effectiveness as a writing tool. To those interested in just how to use a formal outline, check out <a href="">OWL at Perdue</a> which has all the tips and tricks for college and above witting.</p>
<p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; That isn't to say I wasn't cursing the formal outline and it's heritage more than once. As useful a tool as it is, I became stuck on setting the outline up as often as not. It seemed to me that more of my time was taken up by writing the outline than performing research and writing the paper combined. Frustrating is probably the kindest word I could think of during those times.
<p>&#160; &#160;&#160; In retrospect, though, I can understand why it took so long to set up the outline. You have an idea you want to expand upon, but are having a "helluva" time giving it form. I've lost count of the many ideas I had that I couldn't expand upon, mostly due to not knowing how to organize it into something coherent.
Being a technically-oriented person, spontaneous writing comes in slow, rare, spurts. It's not for lack of creativity, (at least I don't think so), but the fact my mind has been working a certain way for quite a long time. Add to the fact that I'm a pretty crappy typer means it takes me awhile to get whatever it was down on paper. I do believe using a formal outline, at least initially, will help me take those spurts of ideas and give it needed framework to expand upon. Who knows, I may finally finish a freaking story one of these days.
So with all the in mind, I'll be using that to set up a short story idea I've been toying around with. I may even post parts of it here for critiques. Don't when I will post them, but I will at least start posting the outlines as I write them.
Until then,
Josh (Sweeper) Brumley

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