Paula’s Post #54 – In yesterday’s post, Confessions of a NOP, Silk revisited the age-old debate regarding the merits of being an ‘OP’ (Outline Person) or ‘NOP’ (No Outline Person).
With a cute little kitty photo splashed across the masthead, she confessed:
“…I’m looking forward to outlining my next book the way a cat looks forward to a visit with the vet..”
Further on in her post, in what can only be described as a pathetic attempt to whip up some enthusiasm for the 5writers task at hand, (to wit: creating a fully envisioned, detailed outline of our next novels-to-be on or before February 5th, 2014) she surveyed the attitudes of her fellow 5writers, commenting:
“Paula became a convert last year, whipping out her first action-packed YA novel in, like, two weeks thanks to her well-planned outline. Okay, maybe not two weeks, but fast. And no one has more story concepts than Paula, so the faster she can write, the better.”
Yeah. right. Maybe not two weeks.
And where did that novel end up? So far, on the proverbial cutting room floor, fun to write, but in the end, uninspiring. At least uninspiring enough for this 5writer that I have no present interest in tackling drafts two, three and four in an effort to get it agented and published.
But, as usual, I digress.
The topic at hand is ‘OP’ vs. ‘NOP’, so let’s set the record straight on a few details. For the record, until relatively recently, ‘OP’ meant only one thing to this wanna be surfer: Ocean Pacific, the manufacturer of beachwear inspired by the California dreamin’ surfing culture.
Flash forward 20 or 30 years – oh, hell, maybe more like 40 – and I admit that it has been a long, long time since I’ve been able to fit into a pair of OP boardshorts, but that doesn’t mean I’m any more likely to immediately think ‘Outline Person’ when I hear the letters ‘O’ and ‘P’ strung together in that particular order.
I do not, and perhaps never will consider myself an ‘Outline Person’. I might even go so far as to say I have an irresistible urge to shout to the heavens: ‘I am not now, nor have I ever been, an ‘Outline Person’.
But I admit it. The sad truth is that I’m having a lot of trouble getting my writing back on track.
Silk’s right, no one has more creative story ideas than I do. The visual I like best for this is a theatre electric popcorn machine on overdrive, story ideas exploding in my brain like popcorn kernels flying from the bowl.
But where do these ideas invariably end up?
That’s right. What better metaphor to mix then to say the vast majority of these brilliant and not so brilliant ideas seem to end up on the proverbial cutting room floor.
So, to paraphrase Casablanca’s Rick Blaine, it doesn’t take much to see that story ideas alone don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.
And all this means I have to take a good long look at how I managed to spew out a novel in, if not two weeks, something like three months. It means I have to take a good long look at doing some writing math.
Another thing I’m not good at, but somewhere in my fuzzy brain I’m struggling with the concept of ‘ratios’. During our epic, 5 month writing challenge, this translated into spending about 1 month outlining and 3 or 4 months of writing.
But what if I tinkered with that ratio?
Not a lot.. just a bit? What if I managed to force my idea spewing A.D.D. ravaged brain to sit still long enough to craft the fully envisioned, fully fleshed out outline our 5writers challenge demands?
What if the ratio I ultimately craft looks more like 2:8 instead of 1.4? Or even 3:12?
Let’s face it, – I’m never gonna fit into those teeny tiny ‘juniors’ size 11 OP boardshorts again.