So do I really use these methods? Absolutely. In writing this series I wrote the intro with no particular end in mind. I had a number of ideas and I just wanted to catch as much of it as possible. In such cases, polishing is usually needed. (A first draft should never be your finished piece but in reality, all too often, time constraints, other obligations, and yes, even mere laziness make this happen.)
After that, I immediately saw the multiple waypoints I wanted to visit, so I wrote those down as something to be elaborated on later.Each of those became beacons shining in my mind. So rather than the waypoints being "endings," they instead were goals, main attractions to be visited. I could have used a mindmap to quickly identify all the activities (discussion points) at each waypoint, but I didn't.
For this series, the compass and GPS came into play during the subsequent refinements to the first draft. (I basically threw mud on a wall to see what stuck, and then smoothed it out to make it an even spread.) Finally, reflecting back on allowing for an alternate ending, that indeed happened in this series. Originally I intended to end with the hiker's compass. But as I concluded that section, I realized that adding this section would help you to appreciate that rigid rules only restrict your creative journey. Like an artist, learn to express yourself freely but use the known rules of paint blends and application methods to demonstrate command of the art.
Our Canvass -- Their HeartsWe writers have a wonderful canvass we paint on. We actually have three different canvasses: the ear, the mind and the heart of our audience (listeners and readers). If what a speaker or writer says catches a listener's ear, it may become intriguing to the listener's mind. If the mind mulls it around and finds something useful the listener can incorporate into his own life, it then reaches the listener's heart. When it reaches the heart of your audience, it will become a living Mona Lisa in their life.
This article is part of a series. Please scroll through the Index to "Inspiration For Writers."