The picture above represents something I'm working on today. I've got to take the information from this electrical schematic (by the way, this is one of fifteen pages for this particular subsystem) and try to break it down into something we can easily explain to our new flight students.

A daunting task indeed. But you know, when you think about it. We, as writers, do the same thing for our readers.

This is one reason I like to outline. Sometimes a story can become so complex that something so simple as hair color, or mannerism can be missed. I just recently acquired an understanding of why people write out character profiles or interviews when working on a work of fiction.

I am one of those readers that takes my time, letting every page settle into my conciousness before going on. Because of this, I often run into small irregularities in the stories of my favorite authors. Of course, this sets me off and taints my ability to suspend disbelief for the rest of the story. I (as I believe most readers) pick up on small differences like a woman who has short bobbed hair in one scene and long flowing hair several scenes later.

So, as writers, we owe it to our readers to take the time and keep good notes so we can take the big picture (like the one above) and simplify just enough so that our readers can gain understanding of the story, while withholding just enough to make them think or throw them off their footing just a little once in awhile.


  1. I always pay attention to details, because I notice that stuff in books I read. And I don't know what type of flight students, but I've worked on courseware for flight students before and all I can say is good luck!

  2. When I was a child I kept hearing "you should be more optimistic" or "stop being so pessimistic." Then, when I was in college I took a "strength" test and discovered that my Number 1 strength was "being deliberative."

    I was so relieved to discover that it was okay "to see the glass half empty and ponder how I was going to refill it." Now years later I've realized that "deliberative" can mean "anal retentive" which is okay too because sometimes you need to be able to "cover all the angles" and find the solutions for the problems in life and everything else.

  3. I don't outline right away, or do character profiles. I start working on a concept and see what develops. Sometimes I'm halfway through a novel before I truly start understanding the quirks of my characters or setting.

    But I don't mind editing either. Once I know enough about all the details, I start filling them in, and keep track of them. It works the same as for plotters, just takes me writing on the story to know those details.


  4. Alex-I enjoy details myself. I usually have a general idea about a story and will think about it for weeks, or even months until I can't stand it anymore and I have to put it on paper. Problem is, about a month later, another idea is haunting my thoughts.

    Sandra-That's the basis of a good story, isn't it. We, as writers, have the option to put our characters into terrible situations and then follow them to the end.

    Donna-So, you like to wing it. I wish I had a mind stable enough to handle that. I do like to have a general idea what I want from a story, but my first drafts are mostly filled with general movements and "this happens and then this happens" segments. I get a few great and profound quips from this and then build on the story from their. I guess I like to have a loose outline that I don't mind changing or adding to as the story progresses.


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