Monday, May 16, 2011

Section Outlines and Annotated Bibliographies

As I muddle through scene outlines, I keep thinking about my students and their annotated bibliographies. When I introduce annotated bibliographies, my students are discouraged and, in some cases, despairing. It takes them an entire class period just to understand what they're supposed to do, and then the first annotation they write takes an hour. At the thought of writing fifteen of them, they practically revolt, but I promise them that if they keep trying, they'll a, have an easier time writing their papers and b, find that the annotations become easier and easier until, by annotation fifteen, churning them out becomes second nature. They don't believe me, but as someone who's been through the process, I know that I'm right.

I keep reminding myself of that as I outline. It's incredibly hard. I'm not sure I'm doing it right, and it seems like it will take me ages to complete enough section outlines to actually start writing. I keep reminding myself, however, that just like my students need to trust that the annotations are worth doing and will get easier, I need to trust that the section outlines will help me write better and are worth doing.

Tonight I muddled through some plot arcs and one section outline. I struggled, but tonight I was: a writer.

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