ONE MAN’S THOUGHTS: Intros and Outlines


The one thing I’ve learned over the past eight weeks is that writing a blog is not the same as writing creatively. The reason I make this painfully obvious statement is because knowledge is not the same as experience. This is my first experience with a deadline and I have to say it’s been educational. After only two months with A History of Romance the time from conception to finished product to post has been reduced three fold. This efficiency has carried over to my creative writing as well and I find that I’m able to write more on demand than before.

The other half of this equation is my ability to produce a blog entry. Last week I suffered from the flu and had no inspiration. I thought some writing tips would be a safe way to go, after all there isn’t a writer on the planet that can’t hear this stuff enough times. I struggled with it, however in the end managed to put my two cents in on what I’ve learned.

A good blog however is about more than a few good tips. To write anything an author must share what is on their mind. Last week I didn’t want to write a blog entry because I had nothing to say and it suffered accordingly. This week I’ve decided to stick to what is on my mind. I am planning a romance story and this is some of what I’ve been thinking about.

There are as many ways to write a book as there are authors. Each has their own method and system for designing an intriguing tale. One thing I do is outline because I have a habit of twisting scenes into events that don’t fit the overall plot. The stories will bend themselves into strange fantasies that have nothing to with the story. Outlining has proven valuable so far. After formulating what makes a good romance I wrote two outlines. Unfortunately the outlines don’t accomplish a romantic vibe and I am grateful that I didn’t start writing either story.

The problem is that the failed outlines had too many scenes that had to be included and not enough that I wanted to include. The outlines also focused strictly on the two primary characters and any portion of the story that required other characters was shaping up to be dull. This tells me I need more colorful characters and subplots to use them in. Once onto this line of thinking my imagination was sparked and I had the first inspired scene of this story manifest itself before my eyes and I discovered that I wanted to write.

The scene I dreamt up included an introduction to a wonderful character that will be fun to write. The entire scene is based around his introduction and leads to another important line of thought for a writer, memorable introductions for characters. Dramatic introductions are an important element that should be done with thought and diligence. First impressions are vital and that is no less true in the realm of fiction. An author must define his characters when they are first introduced to the reader. This is the image that the reader will start with. Even if future events alter or add to that image the first impression will represent a majority of what the reader thinks about the character.

In my story Who’s the Boss? I introduce a character this way:

The three men froze mid tussle and stared at their statuesque boss. With heels she was easily six foot in height, she had curly auburn hair that extended to the center of her back, with eyes that sparkled behind wire-framed glasses as they did prior to chewing someone out.

“Diane,” Justin said. “We were just—”

She held up a hand to dissuade any further comment.

“You were just using your office computer for viewing pornography,” she said. “Which is expressly prohibited by department policy.”

She stepped into the room and leaned on his desk. Justin couldn’t help but to glance at Diane’s exposed cleavage as the top of her blouse opened.

With a few lines the reader knows what Diane looks like, her demeanor, the affect she has on men, and her willingness to use her sexuality to her advantage— after all, no woman leans over in a low cut blouse unless it is for effect.

Now, back to romance story. Armed with the start of a new outline and a clever scene in which to introduce a vibrant character I am ready to proceed. I have to work out plenty of ideas yet before I begin, but I think I’ll start by reading some good romance books first. I don’t normally read too much of it any more, but when in Rome…

I would welcome suggestions for romance books from anyone commenting on this blog. Something that had an impact for you or otherwise found unique.

Until next time— happy writing!

Michael Matthews Bingamon

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One response to “ONE MAN’S THOUGHTS: Intros and Outlines

  1. Tabitha Blake

    Great blog! It’s hard to sit down with a blank screen and start a new book. My biggest problem is I either has a ton of ideas running through my head or I have nothing. LOL Both will drive you crazy while trying to write. I do agree about readting. Sometimes if I get blocked a good romance will inspire me with ideas.
    Tabitha Blake

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