I have a theory about writing, that I have tested enough times to know works for me. It is summarised by a simple phrase:
Start anywhere and just get on with it.
While this approach always works for me in tackling writing projects in a general sense and knocks blocks on the head, in the specifics of writing fiction I have come up against something of a brick wall using this approach. Something interesting always falls out when I ‘start anywhere’ but the overall fabric of the text lacks structure, and it doesn’t allow me to zero in with focus on a target. Quite the opposite, in fact.
There is a time for structure, and a time for free-form responses: I think my fiction efforts need a little more structure.
As such, I am going to start working through a new approach, one based on my background in design. Before I design anything, I write a brief. This can be a few dot points or an elaborate document, but essentially it is the statement of the problem that needs to be solved. It contains qualitative and quantitative information - the building blocks and constraints that need to be managed in order for the work to take form. When I design I am always responding to a brief. The response can be premature, or overcooked and burdened - getting the timing of the response inception right is a challenge, but that’s ok, it’s a challenge I understand.
I am not sure where this is all leading, but my brief may in fact be a synopsis: the statement of the problem that need solving by my characters. This weekend I will give it a go.