Thursday, September 2, 2010

How do Pirates say AWESOME?

I looked up a Pirate-English dictionary online, trying to find out how to say "AWESOME" in Pirate. No luck. They don't have a word for it. Scurvy bilge rats! Can't they ever think POSITIVE?

I'm a scribbler, not a pirate, but I wanted to apply some pirate epithets this morning as I worked on the outline for my new novel. Outlining gives me a HEADACHE! But I want my story to be awesome, so I'm haulin' away at it.

If I had only a few things to think about, like eating, sleeping, and writing, I could get by without an outline. In my early days, when my children were small, I had nearly no time to write and plenty of time to think. I would work out stories in my head, memorize the prose just the way I wanted it, and then sit down at the computer and pour it all out.

Now my brain is too busy for that. I've got two teenagers, three elementary school kids, and twenty-odd college algebra students to take care of. When a thought comes into my brain I have to put it down on paper or it goes flying out the window.

That's why I've got this big tack board in the cove half-covered with note cards. Those are all the thoughts I've pinned down so they don't fly away. I'll fill up the board, then arrange the cards in quasi-logical order and use them to create my best book ever.

At least that's the plan.

And there's one thing I've discovered about outlining that I never suspected. The first time I write an outline it goes on and on, a long grocery-list of character realizations, important events, red herrings, decision points, and thrilling scenes I've dreamed up just for the fun of it. But then when I sit down to write the book, that long string of tiny pieces begins to twist and loop together, sort of like a protein strand curling up as it comes off the ribosome assembly line, and I see where I can put realizations, events, and decision points together ALL IN THE SAME THRILLING SCENE! Hoo hoo! This does wonders for my pacing, and it doesn't happen unless I outline first.

So viva la outline!


  1. That is awesome.
    I have like eight notebooks and when I sit down I often can't find the one I'm looking for. But a pile of notecards...
    Cool idea.
    Also, I'm still distracted by your beach, but in a good way.

  2. I love your board! I'll have to do a post about my new writing room. I even hung some artwork on the walls today. Isn't it great to have your own space?

  3. You're awesome! And the notecards are too. I'm finally getting around to outlining with a fury for my 3/4 written WIP. Um, what's my problem exactly? Not sure, but it's cool that we're in the same mode. Only my outline's going into Liquid Story Binder XE, which is a right pain to learn, but awesome to use. :)

  4. Okay, I'm super impressed about everything, especially the kids and students part - and you're still writing! Love the tack board and note cards. It makes me itch to write, right now.

  5. I've tried outlining on the computer, but then if I try to look at my outline and my prose and my research all at the same time my screen gets cut into teeny windows. And when I outline on note cards and use a tack board I can include cartoon sketches or pin photos up and make the place lively and fun to look at.

    And Leisha, I want to know what art you've got up in your cove. You can see Marlin and Dorrie freaking out in the corner by my tack board. I've also got a "How to Train Your Dragon" poster and several prints from "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick."

  6. Rebecca, I put up one of my drawings, a poster of the Tetons, and then my article from LDS Living. Not too much yet. :) But I have one whole wall that is done in chalkboard paint. It's fun, but the kids like it, too, and I'm always having to remind them not to draw where mommy wrote. :)

  7. Ohhh... one entire wall of CHALKBOARD! Awesome.

  8. Yup. The texture isn't a smooth as I'd like, but it still works well. Think of the plot lines I can work out with a whole wall.


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