20.11.11

why i'm now a summarizer.

So sorry for the lack of updates. I'm on vacation. I went to visit a college on Friday, and then a different one yesterday. They're my top picks and I'm pretty sure I've narrowed it down to one. But that's not the point of this post. Today's point is summaries and why they're a good thing to have.

I'm sure many of us start out writing as pantsers. To learn more about that, go visit this wonderful blog post by the lovely Marisa. She covers the differences quite well.
Anyways, I think it's safe to say many writers start out doing just that... writing. No planning, thinking about the ending of the book, ect.... We don't know any better. We just want to write, am I correct? When I finished the very first handwritten draft of The Assassin back in eigth grade (I'm still in shock it's been that long!) it couldn't have been more than forty pages, and instead of being sad that the book was over, I flipped the page over and started the sequel....
Because I didn't know any better.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to that simple drive to just write, none of this meeting a word goal, or finishing by this point.... You know?
Up until I tried NaNoWriMo last year with Snatched, I had never outlined a book. At all. I just kept the thoughts in my head, and it usually worked well.
Well, I tried to outline Snatched, and it was a good outline, but I lost it halfway through Novemeber and had to make a new one (I found the original the day after I finished the novel). And now, I can't write a book without outlining at all. My outlines are pretty simple, in fact, here's a part of the The Assassin outline.

Chapter one:
-murder scene
-murder is botched
-Cassie sees Brent

Chapter two:
-followed to school
-introduce Seth
-Cassie goes home, is knocked out

Chapter three:
-Sarah is murdered

See, just a few notes about what happens in each chapter. Nice and simple....
Until last night, when Evie (check out her new blog!) told me I needed to write a summary so she could help me. A summary. Should be detailed, but not too long. It's now three and a half pages of me covering major plot points, rambling, and a few curses when I can't think of the right word!
But, while the first part is sketchy because I don't remember exactly what I wrote, for the part that I haven't written, it's doing wonders. I'm getting into specific plot points that wouldn't be covered in an outline. The first paragraph of my summary is this:


Cassie Dreandry is a fifteen year-old girl who deals with normal problems like boys and mean girls. But, by night, she’s an infamous killer simply known as the Assassin.  While the general public believes the Assassin is some looney bin, twenty something year-old guy living alone in the mountains, but in reality, the Assassin works for the United States government, targeting people the government believes to be a threat.
Here’s where the real story begins. On a mission to kill a terrorist who plans to attack New York City, Cassie is befounded when another person comes in and kills the terrorist before she does.  Confused and a little freaked out, she leaves.

Haha, I lied. That's two paragraphs. But, see, it goes into so much more detail than just the dashes of an outline.
I have a feeling this will be replacing my general outlines from now on. The summary is definetly helping me understand Cassie better, especially since I've just made a really big change and introduced a character that wasn't supposed to come until a later book. So, this has been majorly helpful.
Onto y'all. What do you do to prepare yourself for writing a book? Do you outline, summarize, or pants along? Or do you have another form of plotting? Let me know!

2 Comments:

Dylan R Colt said...

Generally, I do the same thing. Character information, and then the chapter with a few basic points. That, and sometimes I write stuff without a clue where its going. Which is really rare. Too confusing. O_o

Ashley said...

PLEASE write that and get it published. I'd die to read it.

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