Whenever I edit, whenever I outline, this scene runs through my head, specifically “Onions have layers, ogres have layers!” Except I tweak the words in my head. I think to myself “Onions have layers, I write in layers!”.
And for the longest time I tried to write it all in one sit, get it all in so I didn’t have to go over and over and over it. Only recently have Ibegun to allow myself to just writeit the way it comes to mind.
I write the scene, usually pretty basic then when the story is down I go back and fill things in.
Example from the Zombie thing:
Kas and O worked on the truck while the rest of them secured office area of the auto shop, taking out two of the rotting Zs that were dressed in tattered blue jumpsuits. They hadn’t seen many fresh Zs lately. Chris wondered, securing the door, if perhaps the plague was wearing itself out. Four and a half years on, those who died were still becoming those things. But there were fewer people. Far fewer. Those left were far from the civilized people they’d once been.
It is basic, got the scene down, but for me it just wasn’t enough. So I went back and fiddled with it and came up with this:
The town sported one auto shop tucked into a building that lined the main street downtown. Despite the truck’s heavy thumping engine, no Z’s stumbled after them. It was all a matter of time. They would show, eventually. The auto shop carried the faint smell of grease and decay. Shuffling in circles in the bays were several Zs in tattered, bloodstained blue jumpsuits. It didn’t take long to dispatch them, tossing the remains out the back-door while Kas and O pulled the truck into one of the bays, securing the door to keep any curious Z’s away.
Chris did a quick walk through of the waiting area and the office. No more Zs, but plenty of evidence of a lost battle. A body, most of it consumed by the Z’s, lay contorted behind the desk. Chris stepped past it, doing a quick search of the desk. A box of.45’s and revolver. Tina was staring at the corpse.
“Anything good?” She asked.
Chris showed her the revolver and box of ammo, setting them on the counter.
“Those Z’s back there were old.” She commented, following him out of the office.
“Probably here when it went down. This place was pretty secure.” Ahmad said from his corner by the register.
“Been a while since we saw any fresh meat.” Tina said. Fresh meat. Fresh Zs.
Chris shrugged and double checked the door. Had they seen the last of the plague? He didn’t dare to hope. Four and a half years on, freshly dead sometimes reanimated, but lately the recently departed were staying dead. There were so few people left, though. Far fewer. Those left crept close to the animals they once set themselves apart. How long before they rejoined the great animal kingdom? He paced by the window, staring out into the street. No Z’s, no people.
It isn’t done, isn’t perfect, and still needs a bit of tweaking, but you see how I did that? For me, I had to layer the emotional response in AFTER I knew what the actions and setting was. When I wrote it I stared at that first paragraph knowing that was too short, to distant.
I figured that out after going brain dead trying to get it all down, emotion and everything. But my brain doesn’t work that way.
So often we hear these conflicting myths, that you should be able to just get it all down in one sitting, and the other myth that a good story only comes by tweaking it for years and years. I, personally, am of the opinion that for some people these myths are true. For some people it does take years, for others a one sit write out and it’s as good as it’s going to get. But those methods aren’t for everyone. And it’s not me. And it’s alright to not be either of these.
I am a firm believer in there not being any ONE way for EVERYONE. It is impossible. Not doable. And if anyone tells you differently, they don’t know what they are talking about.
Anyways, it is time to get to writing, finish tweaking the zombie thing. Take care, happy writing!