Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Big Picture

I spent yesterday in endnote-land. A few months ago a friend suggested I use the "endnote" function in my word processing program to create a sort of after-the-fact outline of each draft.

I wish I'd put endnotes in the very first draft, but alas, I didn't know about this secret until draft four. So I went through the document scene by scene and every time a new scene began or the time frame or subject matter changed, I thought of a subtitle for that section and inserted it in an endnote. Then I printed out the endnotes.

The notes will be meaningless to most folks. They read something like: 1. wilson road 2. drill in the freezer 3. my bra strap 4. a case of snicker's bars 5. trapped by bison, etc. But I can look at them and see the shape of the document. It's a way to step back, get the whole picture, and decide whether I've got the "drill in the freezer" scene in the right place or whether it would sound better after "trapped by bison."

Each time I revise the document, I print out the endnotes again. They renumber automatically as I move the scenes around giving me the shape of that particular draft.

Okay. Okay. I'm an OCD Virgo and I love this detail type work, but the endnotes are really helpful for long documents and mine is currently 100,000 plus words/272 pages. Without these endnotes, I can't see the chapters for the commas!

Back to the writing. Somebody hand me the bumglue.

2 comments:

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