The Week in Words (June 19)

At the Editor’s Desk

Perhaps my biggest accomplishment this week has been the production of an email newsletter. It has taken me a hair shy of seven weeks to prepare.

I do apologize for the delay. I changed the blog posting schedule at the same time I took on three major new projects, and the newsletter fell through the cracks

I might have a thing or two to say about some of those projects, though.

The Consortium

That’s right. After realizing I probably shouldn’t be giving away my new genius business idea a full decade before I had the resources to pull it off, I have nonetheless continued in pursuit of that idea (and those resources). I’ve also discovered a handful of things that make me think maybe it won’t take quite so long to make it real. And maybe I don’t have to be quite so secret.

I’m not going to go into detail here, though, because that would rob me of a month’s worth of blog post material. You can look forward to an interesting series throughout July, though, as I build the case for my right-brained brain trust.

The Girl Who Stayed the Same

I’ve also continued the serial novel I first announced in the debut Week in Words. This week I finished chapter four, and I dare say it’s finally getting interesting.

You can follow that story on my private series page at the Creative Copy Challenge, or just wait for the e-Book coming to digital purveyors near you in February 2011.

On Unstressed Syllables

This week we covered two major topics: document outlines, and story structure.

Sunday I introduced the Technical Writing series on document outlines by telling about my own harrowing encounter with an outline-wielding high school debater.

I thought I was doomed, but it turned out I could easily get over the fear of failure by not trying to win. That’s the happy ending to that story (although my debate partner didn’t much appreciate it).

Then on Monday I got down to the nitty gritty, explaining why you actually need to understand and use document outlines. Turns out they’re a fantastic way to visualize and improve your document’s structure.

Then Tuesday I told you how to actually do one, with a detailed explanation (and examples) of the standard outline format. It was awesome.

On Wednesday, Courtney forgot what she was talking about, which made for a fantastic WILAWriTWe reminding you that you should get (and use) a scribblebook.

Thursday I introduced the Creative Writing series on story structure with the tale of a year when I wandered away from writing to focus on designing and drawing mazes.

On Friday I explained what that had to do with writing. If you look at it the right way, the structure of a story is just like a maze, and there are several principles of mazemaking that can help you improve your story structure. One of the most significant: solid structure doesn’t have to be obvious structure.

I wrapped that up today by pointing out the big difference between mazemaking and storytelling. In this business, it’s absolutely your job to make sure readers can follow the plot of your novel. If they get, ahem, lost somewhere in the middle, you’ve dropped the ball. And I’m going to be classy here and not mention the writers of Lost at all.

Across the Web

I do intend to include interesting writing-related links in these newsletters, as I was doing for the few short weeks that “The Week in Words” ran as a Saturday blog post. I don’t have any for you this week, though. Maybe next week I’ll manage my time a little better. One can always hope.