Structure First…

Outlining as a first draft?  Hmm, I’ve never tried it.  It kind of seems like using structure as a basis for a first write might hinder the process, but Fred says our brains naturally organize things in this way anyway so I might as well give it a try.  I’ve had my short story/book Turning Rows on the back burner for some time now so maybe it’s time to drag it out and make an outline.  Here goes.

  1. Jill’s father thinks she should get a summer job and talks to an acquaintance
    1. Introduce Frank
    2. Describe need for walking beans
  2. Jill is picked up for her first day at work
    1. Introduce Sam
    2. Describe bean field and the job at hand
    3. Introduce Clay, Adam, and Chris
  3. Describe relationship between the girls and boys as they work
    1. Girls keep to themselves
    2. Boys try to get girls attention
    3. Tall tales scene
  4. Sam’s accident
    1. Reveal how young people sometimes make irrational choices
    2. Reveal Jill’s loyalty to Sam
  5. Frank returns to the field
    1. Lunch
    2. Describe progression of time
    3. Describe fatigue
  6. Going home
    1. Girls under the tree scene
    2. Boys arrive
    3. Begin revealing Chris’ dangerous nature
    4. Show Jill’s inner conflict
    5. Jill asks boys to leave and tension builds but then they go.
  7. Sleep over
    1. Describe the inside of Jill’s house
    2. Show girls alone in bedroom
      1. Getting ready for bed rituals
      2. Sneaking snacks
      3. Silly girl time
      4. Discuss the boys
    3. Reveal Jill’s Dad’s authoritarian nature
      1. Girl’s giggle and squeal
      2. Dad opens door and yells for girls to get to bed because they have to be up early to get back in the bean field.
      3. Lights out and whispered conversation before going to sleep
        1. Reveals Sam’s adventurous side
        2. Reveals Jill’s desire to do the right thing but her conflict at wanting to appear adventurous in Sam’s eyes.
  8. Rise and Shine
    1. Introduce Mom
    2. Describe relationship between Jill’s Mom and Dad
      1. Mom is housewife
        1. Takes care of younger siblings
        2. Makes breakfast for Dad and girls
    3. Describe girls getting ready
    4. Girls making their lunches and watching for Frank to pick them up
  9. Back to Work
    1. In the truck
      1.  Sam’s makes a bid for a hook instead of a hoe.
      2. Boys make obscene demands
      3. Jill gives her hook to Sam
    2. Back in the rows
      1. Show changes in how girls and boys interact with one another (more familiar)
      2. Downpour scene
      3. Work day ends early
      4. Summarize rest of week
  10. Saturday
  11. Bike ride with the boys
  12. Jill gets pressured
  13. Sam saves the day

That was an interesting experience.  It’s useful to get the chronology down on paper as a guide.  Who knows where it will go from here.  Fred says to use this outline as the framework for a type of free write first draft.  I’ll give it a shot.  Check back to see where I end up.