Building Ideas

From the Ground Up or the Roof Down?

I’ve been writing my ideas and thoughts down more and more lately, so as to build up ample fodder for this blog. This has got me wondering though about how to flesh out these ideas when it comes time to write them. I haven’t used the traditional method as much as I should have. Usually when I have an idea I just start typing and the words flow however they want. Sometimes it ends up good, sometimes it’s just crap. When it ends up crap I try to determine if it was just a bad idea or if I wrote it badly. And more recently now that I’ve been trying to organize my ideas I am wondering if it might be because the idea lacked structure.

A lot of my ideas tend to be constructed from the roof down I think. As in, I see the end result and kind of start working from there to establish the bones of whatever it was I wanted to write. Any English teacher will tell you that this is a bad idea, and most of mine would probably berate me for not using outlines. I don’t only have issues involved in making the outline or structure of it, I also have trouble sticking to it. I think it feels a little constricting even if it was my own words to begin with. For me I question whether I even need to outline something that’s only going to be a few hundred words.

So as with most of my internal debates, I’m left holding all the possibilities and no real answers. The scientific way to test it would be to write several things using different methods and observe the outcomes. But then things vary by topic and inspiration so it has no control. I could ask others what they thought of different pieces, but it becomes a matter of personal taste. Other writers could weigh in on how they do it, but what works for them may not work for me. I fear as with most things I’m unsure of only time, practice, and patience will tell. If you all have any thoughts, please weigh in.

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2 responses to “Building Ideas

  1. Like you, not much structure up front has gone into most of my writing. I usually have an idea, and like I told a family member the other day, well, I see this happening, but how I get it to that point is the two hundred or so pages in between. Here’s another example…both of the books I’ve written (and honestly, the 3rd one I’m working on as well) had their titles first, before much more than a paragraph was on paper. Talk about the roof coming first – aye yi yi. But it worked somehow. For me anyway.

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