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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Non Linear Writing

MONDAY 9/12 6-8 Classroom at Ann Peden Jewelry and Artist Marketplace
MONDAY 9/26 6-8 Classroom at Ann Peden Jewelry and Artist Marketplace
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Ann Peden Jewelry

1431 Capital Ave
Suite 109
Watkinsville, GA 30677

Many people write the same way they travel. They have to gas the car, travel each mile, and then arrive at their destination. They rely on an outline, and then can write chapter after chapter in perfectly logical order.

But no one HAS to think that way. And no one MUST write that way.

Everyone can be non-linear.

If I say to you "Paris, France," you immediately have an image in your head, whether it's this one:

Or not. Depending on who you are, you might think of Ratatouille or Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast. You might think of Les Miserables. You might think about french painters or french cuisine. Perhaps an image pops into your mind of Napoleon, the Arc de Triomphe de l'√Čtoile, or the Eiffel Tower. What you thought of doesn't really matter. My point is, you did not have to get on a plane or open a book to imagine immediately something directly related to Paris. Non linear writers get that.

Everything we write comes from imagination or memory. In the same way, every person has a slightly different view of Paris based on their experiences. And non-linear writers use those experiences to tell the stories they are most excited about telling. Here's the difference:

When you get home from a trip and tell your best friend all about it, you might tell about what happened out of order. This is called Stream of Consciousness. You remember things as they come to you, and sometimes your friend interjects, and that reminds you of something else, and sometimes you lose your train of thought. You can read non linear writing in flashbacks and foreshadowing and dreams and memories, even from linear writers.

But in non-linear writing, the goal is (usually) a linear plot. And depending on whether your story is plot driven or character driven, you will feel compelled to write major scenes of your story. It's almost a compulsion -- it's the dream you don't want to forget or this historic moment that you are chronicling for posterity. You MUST write this scene if you are a non-linear writer, in the same way that you MUST tell your friend about certain aspects of your vacation.

So plotting when you are non-linear still happens, just in a different way that linear people plot. Non-linear writers might make a list of five things that they expect to happen in their book. Or, they may write each scene not knowing where or how it fits, without making any sort of list. When a few of these scenes have been written, whether you are listening to characters or stopping along a roadside or kicking the bad guy's ass, you'll start to see where you want to go and what you need to do to tie those pivotal scenes together.

Imagine it like this:

You have a list of errands you need to accomplish. Meet a friend for lunch, get a deli tray for work, drop books off at the library, buy stamps at the Post Office, and buy flowers for your mother. You may write all these things down, and then you might place them in a logical order so you can save gas and flow with traffic. But the library and post office have specific opening and closing times, "lunch" with your friend should be midday, and you shouldn't leave a deli tray (or a floral arrangement) in your car any longer than you have to. If you're like me, you have noble intentions of hitting the library and post office before lunch, but since they weren't open before 8, when you left the house to take the kid to school, you putter around your house until five minutes AFTER you should have left to meet your friend, spend longer catching up than you intended (which you are not at all upset about) and then have to get everything else done in a rush before picking the kid up from school. 

So long as everything on your list gets done by the end of the day, you can count it a success. And if you were constantly blocked from your intended plan by obstacles, then you have the means for a great story that will make your readers do this:

And isn't that what we all want from our readers?

So to practice, comment with the events of your day, in some crazy harried style. Or, write about a journey from your imagination. Anything is possible for Authors, Mothers -- or not, and Dreamers!

Phyl Campbell is Author, Mother, Dreamer. She writes on a variety of topics: Education, Women/Feminism/Equality, Book Reviews, and Writing. Her books are available on AmazonIf you'd like to see her speak at an upcoming function, contact her via her website or Facebook page.