But she lost the notes from my lecture.
Julie. How could you? (Only kidding--of course I know all about losing stuff. Like my mind, after one of those amazing, exhausting residencies.)
Anyway, here's the condensed version of my lecture. You must read it at a brisk clip, in the manner of 60-Second Shakespeare. Ready?
Tools and Techniques for Accessing the Inner Life of Your Novel. You think you have one mind? Wrong, you have two. Creative, critical--don't laugh. Dorothea Brande's ghost may be listening! You need both those minds--don't be fooled into killing either. What? No, no! Never bring them onstage together. Don't you read labels? Creative's tagged "draft," Critical's "revision." Get it? Look, just give yourself permission to manage them in your head. Or on paper or even (gasp!) your computer. Whatever works for you. Use any stage directions you like, that's all those organizing tools are: outlines, timelines, calendars, maps, charts, graphs, visual plotlines of all shapes and sizes. Synopses. Try a synopsis that reads like flash fiction. Fool your creative mind into cooperating. It's not against the rules, you know. Dickens outlined. Could it be he knew a thing or two? Thomas Hardy drew maps. Because honestly, it's hard to keep an entire novel in your head. Plus who said the outline had to be Roman-numeralled and indented and pretty? Who said you had to do it before you wrote the novel? Who said? Point is, you're in charge. Figure out when to use those critical mind tools and when to toss them. Remember the organizing tool is not the art form. Stop. Save yourself years of fruitless tinkering. Just take the time to figure out the creative-critical balance you need. The end.There. Clear as feathers?