Editorial Assistance

College and Chapter Outlines

Last summer, I lived in a dorm in Indiana University Bloomington, took classes, and went to a number of meetings courtesy of the scholarship I'd gotten. It wasn't easy, that's for certain, but I knew it wouldn't be easy from the get-go. Three things in particular made it especially hard for me.

1.) Before this, I'd never been so far from home, let alone for such a long amount of  time. I didn't want to admit it, maybe because I like to see myself as an independent individual very capable of doing well enough on my own with the right resources, but I was severely homesick - not just from my home, but from my environment. I've spent most of my life in Hammond, Blue Island, and Chicago. Bloomington had very little in common with the places I grew up in.

2.) Before this, I'd never been in love (at least not real love) and had no idea how much being a part from the first person I've ever loved would hurt. This is also another thing I didn't want to admit to myself, namely because doing so would make me feel as though I were too attached. But hell, I missed him a lot.

3.) I discovered that I sucked at math. When I say sucked, I really mean sucked. I failed the placement test so bad that I ended up in the lowest math class they could put a person in. For the most part, I base my life around intelligence and determination. However, here was something I wasn't smart enough at no matter how hard I tried, and the more I tried and failed, the more defeated I felt.

Suddenly, everything I held close to me - love, environment, and intelligence - seemed out of my grasp. Coupled with financial issues, college became hell for me. I developed a fear of it. I wanted out. And, after one hell of a semester where I struggled with depression, I finally did get out. I unenrolled, came on back home, and decided to take a break from college.

Honestly, I didn't know how long this break would last. Part of me had plans to never go back again. The other part of me did want to go back. Guess what? Finally, after many nightmares about college where I realized I actually felt guilty - like I was letting myself down - and a good conversation with my dad about college, the latter part of me won out.

I'm going back. Fall 2012, I'll be going to Purdue Calumet to hopefully get a B.A. in something business related and minor in English. I feel incredibly stupid for not taking this route in the first place. My dad tried his hardest to make it clear to me that going to Purdue, a college in walking distance from my house, would be best financially and mentally. For some reason, I saw that as him not supporting me. Plus I really wanted to get out of the house.

Sometimes, though, you have to learn something the hard way.

This is my chapter outlinem Messy, yes. ^_^
Speaking of learning something the hard way...I've discovered that I can not write a chapter of a story unless I outline the chapter first.

My chapter outline (or the picture to the right) follows the same formula each chapter and every story. Basically, I put the title of the the chapter, a T-chart with the characters and setting, vague summaries of the important things that need to happen in the chapter, and then an in-depth summary of the important points. These in-depth summaries have all the dialogue, all the descriptions, and all the things that need to happen in the chapter. They're so in-depth that these often take me a day or two to write and 5+ pages.

The best part about this system is that once I sit down to write the chapter, everything comes together. I'm excited to get everything I sloppily wrote down in the outline into proper story form.

For some reason, when I finished the 6th draft of Savior of the Damned, I stopped doing chapter outlines. Instead, I sat down in front of a blank piece of notebook paper like I could really just...poof out a chapter from nothingness. My boyfriend can do it, many other writers can do it, and even I could do it back in middle school and high school, but I can't do it now.

And this plays a part in why, even when I do spend an hour or two on writing, I *maybe* complete a page. I don't like not knowing where the hell I'm going. For me, it leaves too much room for me to second guess myself. As thus, I'm returning back to the system of chapter outlines because that would be, I don't know, the smart choice. -_-

On another note, the first vid is something I find amusing while the second vid is my most recent favorite song:

0 Responses