Quick emergency rough drafts

Here are some steps toward a quick rough draft. Read all the steps first. Make a quick, tentative plan before you start.

Quick beginnings:

  • Start with an interesting bit of language
    1. Something you overheard eavesdropping or
    2. A phrase that is stuck in your head
  • Start with a character’s name and with that character doing something
  • Put something you like in the story
  • Put a thing or situation that makes you nervous in the story
  • Start with an accusation or an interdiction

Quick middles:

  • Make things
    1. Complicated for the main character
    2. Worse for the main character
  • Let the character think about
    1. Their actions
    2. The events of the story
    3. Another character
  • Show power shift as a result of a character’s action
  • Show power shift again as a result of an action
  • Show power shifting once more
  • Coincidences and dreams
    1. Can get characters into trouble
    2. But never out of it

Quick endings:

  • Show power shifting irrevocably
    1. Always with the main character as a primary witness
    2. As a result of the character’s action
  • Show at least one of the following
    1. A process begun earlier in the story is completed
    2. A restatement/return/echo of language from earlier in the story
    3. The main question or central tension in the story is resolved
  • Clearly show a change in the character or a reversal of roles
  • Resolve the question of “what’s going to happen” in a brief summary

 

Include many, many images.

Be willing to revise extensively and repeatedly.

 

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