Saturday, March 21, 2015

What's a Meta For?

All writers have in the back of their minds a metaphor they use to describe the process of story making.

Many writers start with a basic concept and meticulously outline every part of their story before beginning to write a single word. Some put their ideas on post-its and measle their walls with notes that mark the progress of the story. Others might use different media to essentially serve the same purpose of visualizing the sweep of the story.

Others think of their story as an unrolling ribbon of thought, each sentence evoking the next as the tale evolves through some mysterious subconscious process as their muse somehow drives them ever forward, navigating the twists and turns of plot, although they may occasionally take a more deliberate control by stepping in occasionally to steer the sentences towards a vaguely perceived conclusion. Jamie Todd Rubin calls this process "Pantsing."

A more deliberative approach likens development to architecture.  An architect designs a project with an eye first to function, and only then determines the form that best unifies the overall structure.  In this the basic building blocks are scenes compacted from characters, settings, time, and events.  Once scenes have been built one can stack them into towering edifices, bridges, or even passageways.  A scene can be placed in its chronological sequence or used as foreshadowing or flashback, all depending on the writer/architect's choice.

In truth, no writer strictly adheres to either process, but uses them as arrows in their quiver, pulling one process or another into action as needed.  Of course, all of these have only to deal with the arrangements and not the plot itself.

Which might be another subject.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading my blog!