Bubbles and Scenes

One of the fundamental differences between most writing and creative writing is that creative writing has a much different purpose.

While both convey functional information, the goal in creative writing is to provide an artistic expression beyond the mere literal events.

If you’ve been following my bubble method (click here for an archive of posts), you’ll know that it’s a light and fractal organization method I use to help stay on task and hit every point I need to hit.

But keeping things straight only gets you half-way to solid organization in creative writing.

For that, you need to think between the bubbles.

Serum (Part 1)

The plane touched down at dusk. Pinpoints of light came from various points in the city, almost enough to make one forget that it was abandoned. The clouds above us melded into a monotone gray, hiding the stars even as they reflected the sun’s dying moments.

“Ready?”

I nodded. My bag was at my feet, and I swiped it in a single motion as I opened the door and let myself out. The tarmac was solid under my feet, a surprise after the floor panels of the small plane.

Choosing a Subject: Crisis

The crisis is the ultimate point of tension in a literary work. It’s when the big bad guy and the big good guy face off, and to the victor go the spoils.

If you want to write a story, you need a good crisis point.

In fact, when you leave a story feeling unfulfilled, it’s almost certainly because the climactic moment of the story didn’t live up to its role.

This is the third part in my series about narrowing down subjects for a creative writing project. Previously I discussed this with the initiation and development of a story.

Bubbles: Saving the Orphans

A couple weeks ago, I laid out my preferred method of organization. I use what I call a “bubble method” derived from a few different theories regarding text structure.

In case you missed it, here’s a link to it, and a brief overview:

  1. I use my system because it’s fast and simple.
  2. Although originally developed for nonfiction, it’s something that I’ve continued using as I move into more creative writing.
  3. It’s built around flexible fractal compartmentalization.

In short: you put each of your ideas into bubbles as a two-dimensional outline, with each bubble representing the content you need to make a point and the point itself. You put bubbles within other bubbles when they are sub-points of a larger point.

Choosing a Subject: Development

This is the second part of my overview of how to choose a subject for a story. My belief is that the best way to do this is to look at the various parts of the story from the perspective of finding the pieces before you begin, and finding authenticity.

You can find these elements in a plot or a character, so you aren’t tied into a dogmatic way of viewing the central mode of a story. This is a process of elimination: if you can’t find these things, your story is likely to have issues down the road.

Choosing a Subject: Initiation

The greatest challenge an author faces when preparing to write is choosing a worthwhile subject for their work.

This may seem trivial at the moment of conceiving, but having a faulty premise kills works-in-progress in their tracks and manifests in various problems difficult to track back to their source.

I don’t have an orthodox method for selecting a subject in mind: if you’re a plot-focused writer or a character-focused writer (Jeff Gerke writes about this in his Plot Versus Character), you will start from a different point. I often work around a theme or motif and take some time to figure out the subject once I’ve developed the message, but I’m cerebral in my approach to stories because of my background as a teacher.

Ultimately, choosing a subject will come down to the personality, proclivity, and aptitude of the writer. However, you can rule out poor subjects by applying a simple test.

Writing With Bubbles

I use a simple method when writing that helps me quickly organize everything I am going to put in a piece without requiring a lot of time and effort.

Organization is critical to good writing because it keeps things in order and allows the logical separation of ideas, but when students get taught organization for writing (if they are even taught organization!) it often takes the form of rote formula.

I use a method I call the bubble method. It’s not sophisticated, but it’s scalable and helpful for very simple organization.