Friday, March 28, 2008


I been mostly working in an office and when not doing that, writing and revising a few outlines. On the whole these outlines look as though they might one day be things that are real and tangible and can be talked about here.

But not yet.

Outlines are tricky because there's so much you need them to do. They've got to show a strong central concept (or, to use the technical term, Wheeze). They've got to show how that Wheeze works in a plot structure (or, Adventure). That Adventure has to include all the mechanics of discovery, revelation and twists (or, How). That How needs to include the way the disparate threads all conclude together (or, Ending), making the jagged and unpredicatable path of the Adventure look, in retrospect, a single straight corridor. And then, you gotta include some kind of disclaimer that this is just one option and you'd be happy to knock more ideas around (or, and in a timid squeak, Yes?).

So, in short, W-A-H-E-Y.

Thing is, you know your poor editor is very busy and so you have to keep it brief. You have to pack as much detail and excitement and off-the-wall-look-at-me-mad-idea-Roger-Rabbitry into as few words as possible. And the effect of this packing a whole universe into a half-sentence is to make you a bit starey-eyed and hyper.

More starey-eyed and hyper.

But it's worth it. The here's-an-idea... was the stuff that got me fired up writing as a kid. A chance comment or joke from my younger brothers and I could suddenly see a whole story. They of course would then be expected to read it, poor sods.

And even more exciting is that bit where an editor agrees to whatever you're proposing. (That getting the gig, and then getting the monies when it's been handed in, those are the good bits of writing. Let's just gloss over the bit that goes in between. Oh, and incidentally the Times has winkled out what I got paid for the Pirate Loop. )

And then there's the particular skippiness because folk like the effort you put in. Like Ionlylurkhere and the splendid LJers who have responded to that thread. (They can scroll through plenty of Badger facts and pictures by clicking the badger tag.)

I don't know what a LoM is but this Proper Who Writer (another technical term) certainly feels validated. Wahey indeed!


John said...

I figured one didn't get paid a whole lot for writing the novels, but I've been paid almost as much for my novella. Yikes! That amount doesn't translate well with the American dollar.

0tralala said...

I'm quite happy with it.