|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
1. I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next four weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.
SUCCEED FIRST, THEN GET STARTED
I know, "What the hell?" After all, am I not the one who keeps saying that the only place success comes before WORK is in the dictionary? Absolutely. So what the heck am I selling now?
Actually, the process. That thing that takes us from A to Z and hits the points in between. A little trick to make that easier is knowing where you're going in the first place. This is especially helpful for writers.
If you can visualize the climax of the story you want to tell, clearly and with the kind of impact that actually stirs your emotions deeply, then you are well on your way to successfully writing that story. This is something that will work for the pantsers out there. You guys know who you are. You never write out an outline, preferring to "discover" the story as you write it. Well how about if you discover that story in reverse?
Start with a stunning, high tension conclusion and ask, "What had to happen just before that to get there?" And before that, and that, and...In a slowly declining level of intensities, until you arrive at something that reads like an opening scene and fits the length of what you were striving to create.
After all, isn't it getting to a point in the middle of things where we don't know how to take something to the next level that presents the greatest likelihood of derailing our efforts? Well, if you're slowly allowing the heat to cool, then you are naturally going in the direction that causes so much friction the other way. Yes, if you said that it sounds like creative visualization in reverse, you are bang on!
But can it work? I know that I have written several short stories in reverse and they have worked just fine. I am working on a summer writer's project aimed at averaging five hundred words a day and I know where my story ends and the major events on the way to it. Now all I'm doing is enjoying hooking it all together and getting in an average of seven hundred and fifty words a day.
Reverse planning or outlining has applications for any form. Short fiction, novels, poetry. It has the advantage of offering a thrilling conclusion to a work instead of a humdrum beginning, and it's a great way to break out of your rut. If you find your stuff getting just a little to predictable, try beginning at the finish!
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis