Saturday, May 30, 2009

The dreaded "B" word: Backstory

Ok, after reading some very informative discussions the other day at Romance University about backstory, I realized I had a very important scene in my story that was going to be backstory. So, following some of the advice I read to eliminate backstory, I decided to make this scene the actual opening scene (where it's supposed to be, duh me. I thought).

As a result, I have a great opening scene that I wrote straight through start to finish without any notes or my beloved index cards I have been ranting about. In doing so, I also eliminated some dreaded backstory. I love it when a burst of raw writing shows up ad spits out about 400 words worth of story line.

All was good (so I thought) until I read: The Black Sheep of Fiction Writing at Pub Rants by guest blogger Carolyn Jewel . The cloud of confusion surrounding backstory was back. Have I improved my story by eliminating some backstory and creating a strong opening or have I just turned the backstory into a prologue? Hmmm...guess I'll have to figure it out later as the story develops.

I guess the lesson I'm taking away from this is, use backstory very carefully if you have to use it. Don't use it as a crutch or a substitute for creativity. If it is key to the story and moves it forward, use it. If it stops momentum and doesn't add value, don't use it.

Still wishing I could type,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Index Card saga continues....

When we last left our little wannabe writer, he had discovered a new and mysterious template that could possibly be used as an indispensable writing tool. We join him once again after a few days, and some long nights, trying out the usefulness of his new discovery....
Ok, after a few days of test driving the Index Card app for google doc's, I must say I am finding it very useful. First I transferred about 19 hand written scene cards to this template and saved it to a folder in my google doc's along with a copy of the manuscript (in progress) itself. Now everything is in one spot that is easily accessible from anywhere.

Then I downloaded the template from google docs in .ppt format to my laptop. Opened and edited it with no problems using Open Impress. In an effort to become less dependant on Microsoft software, I don't use Power Point and cannot say if it works as well with that program. I guess that it should work just fine.

So now, once I get all of my scene card created, I can edit and arrange them as needed to line out my story. Then I can print them out by scene or chapter and start writing. Well, it all sounds good in theory. We shall see.

Did I mention this cuts down on using real paper index cards. Gotta save the trees (for firewood).

Join us next time as wannabe writer boy uses the index card template to create his character cards.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Google Documents and index cards

 In an effort to organize and centrally locate all of my writing "paraphernalia", I've been using Google Documents as sort of my catch all for notes, copies of manuscripts, ideas, etc...Anyway, I came across this neat little index card template for Google Documents if anyone is interested:

Or if anyone is all ready using it, I would love to hear what you think about it. I plan on transferring all of my real index cards to virtual ones to see if I can better manage my mess and maybe save a few trees along the way (trees are better suited as firewood to bar-be-que dead animals).


Monday, May 11, 2009

Template set up, time to rock...

Finally got a suitable manuscript template set up, and i'm a blistering 173 words into my rough draft. Now I just wish I knew how to type.