This post is one of a short series by Bridget Lutherborrow
Oh, internet, you delicious tiered cake of knowledge. For what it’s worth I think it’s dumb you’re capitalised. But how can I fault you when the things you let me do with you are so… neat?
Then again, I spend what feels like half my time reading extra curricular articles and watching dog videos. Like this one of a German Shepard playing mum to a baby goat.
The fact I can download PDFs of journal articles to my Kindle is so goshdarn cool. But, you know what else is cool? Harry Potter quizzes. If I were at Hogwarts I’d most likely be sleeping with Fred AND George. Without you, oh internet, I wouldn’t be privy to that insight.
This short series of blog posts for Writers Bloc is an adventure through the “world wide web” as I attempt to embark on my PhD creative project. This year I started working from home basically full time, and my wifi connection has been my greatest resource and most bitter enemy. Each week I’ll be showing you some handy internet resources for writing, as well as some handy internet distractions for not writing.
This week it’s all about novel outlines. I recommend a fairly well-known book Story, by Robert McKee (do a search for a PDF if you can’t get a hard-copy – this works a surprising amount of the time). In particular, my supervisor suggested I read the section on antagonism. Like plenty of people I’m tempted to write a book where everyone is essentially nice and no-one does anything dumb or mean – but conflict is essential to narrative. For making the climax of your novel or story weighty enough, this section of the book and the “negation of negation” concept it introduces is a fantastic prompt.
Along these lines, I also found this guide to writing a six-act novel, which was a lot more instructive than many how-tos on the subject. Novel outlines are horrible. Mine still isn’t finished. I want to cry. Somebody help. Somebody please.
But it’ll be worth it when it comes to rewrites when I’m not deleting vast swathes of irrelevant description. Outlines are actually the best.
As for distractions, I was going to show you a clip of Bruce Lee footage set to a Bob Dylan song that I found so subtly odd that I watched it four times, but alas, it was taken down. Instead I have for you this “Kung Fu Fighting” montage:
Why do these things exist? How do I – a person who has never seen a Bruce Lee film – find myself in this corner of the internet searching for Bruce Lee videos? I want to know who this person is who not only decided this was a clever pairing, but also that it was worth spending time splicing together such a montage to set to music. And why the super-slow version of the song that lets the lyrics really linger? Why everything?
I’m fairly sure I have better ideas that I don’t follow through on. In fact I’d bet most people do. We could all learn something from this kung-fu mastermind. Follow through is what gets books written. Not smarts. Not connections. Not strangers’ criminally adorable pets. Books get written because someone is idiot enough to commit their short time on this earth to making marks on paper. Not even paper. Fake paper on a magic robot box that could disappear forever at any moment. This someone could be you!
Bridget Lutherborrow is a Sydney-based fiction writer, studying for a PhD at the University of Wollongong, with a thesis on unusual narrators and a novel about lumber jills. She tweets @birtiledge and sometimes blogs about food at Straight-Talking Vegetables.