One of the fun things I love about this blog of mine is the work in progress.
One of the pleasures of sharing my work is the feedback I receive from some of you explaining better ways of doing things. The other pleasure I enjoy is your work.
I like to see how you do it and why you do it and how you can turn a troubled scene into a success.
I will never stop learning and I don’t want to. Learning makes me better and the best teachers I have are the writers I listen to everyday.
Pantsying and other Goodies
A while ago I wrote a piece on outlining and pantsying. I tried the pantsying rout once but I felt lost. I kept having this bad feeling I was headed in the wrong direction.
Kind of like being lost in the woods.
In my last go around I did a scene by scene outline. I must have done something right because I wrote the entire novel that way. I felt good about it but at the same time I wondered if I could improve.
Can I do better?
You’ve read my experience with novel number two. As with any novel things don’t always go as planned but that didn’t stop me from completing an entire outline before I wrote one word.
I believed in it. I felt it was the best direction to go and for a while it felt right. But somewhere along the way something was missing. A certain feeling I couldn’t describe but I knew I had to pay attention to it.
Becoming restless like I do I knew I had to get started. This book wasn’t going to write itself. I decided to go back to my scene by scene outline. This time I did a little better, I turned it into a chapter outline.
A little broader. A little better.
As I moved along I discovered a rhythm that was lacking. The confident feeling that I had when I wrote book one returned.
It didn’t take long before I hit the 15,000 word mark. When that happened I stopped and realized I had made a strange discovery. Something I should have seen a long time ago.
It was in front of me all along
It turns out I’ve been writing an outline all along. I just didn’t know it. It’s what you and I call the first draft.
When I wrote my first novel, draft one was a mess. Just ask Jo, my editor. But aside from that mess a story was laid out. The characters were developed and the plot understood.
The groundwork that I created in that first draft was far better than any outline I could have created. My struggles, my mistakes and ultimately my success in that first draft was the best outline I ever did.
We all have our own style. This is a tough gig we’re trying to do and I’ve learned the hard way whatever works do it.
For me I need to know these people. I have to understand where they’re going and who they are. But most of all I need to know why.
I have discovered that the answer to those questions can be found in draft one. The accidental outline. We never stop learning, do we.