I’ll start this post off with this: I lay in bed one night, and that morning I’d had some coffee, so I couldn’t sleep very well. I was attacked, by an old idea. It’d been burning in the back of my mind for many, many years. I started writing this novel when I was 15/16 years old. That’s a long time ago. Actually, one of the characters from this old novel spawned a character in Heir of Illumination. Anyway, I stayed up late this night, reading the old manuscript I had. Not bad, I think to myself. Sure it needs work, but I can do something with this.
So the next day I began work on the outline, something I’ve never done as a writer before. They tried to teach me the whole index card thing in High School for a term paper. I thought it was useless garbage to learn, and they didn’t help at all. For this long work, though, it did help, tremendously. I knew where I wanted to go, but not the ending. How was I going to pull it off? I created a hashtag on twitter #reportingforduty to help me keep on track. On my last day of outlining, I stared at the screen, staring from where’d I’d left off, but that didn’t help. I had to work from the back to connect the work. This greatly boosted my confidence, and I sent the outline to a friend. She sent me back that it looked like it could work. Of course there is a huge difference between outline and actual writing.
I’ve been writing this story for over a week, and I have Chapter 1 finished, and it has clocked in at 9k words, pretty admirable for me. I don’t write long works, and I think I figured out why. Long works require planning on my part, and short works I can fly by the seat of my pants (each has its own rewards). Working with an outline in this fashion makes me so grateful! I’ll compare it to working with yarn. You have to prepare the yarn in order to work your project. Just in this way, the outline keeps me on track, I know what scenes should be where, and how they should develop. The characters know their story, and want to get it out as soon as possible. They have grown and evolved in my head, allowing them time to know what happens.
Each day I try to write at least one scene, and for the most part, I can get in one scene, about 1000 words each. The length of each scene is about the same, though I do have a couple short scenes (which may get the chopping block in favor of other off-page scenes). In all, I am moving through the piece slowly, but surely, and the outline does not stifle the creativity as I thought it might. On this piece, it is actually helping because I can see which scenes need to be written, and write them. The short synopses that I wrote for the outline guide my writing, without getting in the way. I don’t have to sacrifice prose to know what is going to happen next, like I did with Heir of Illuminations (which I might add is in revision stages, though I may need more than just editing, I think it needs a complete overhaul, again).
So, in all, my writing is going very well. I’m making a lot of progress, and I will not be stopping anytime soon, though I will be taking breaks. Today I could not write, as I wrote two scenes yesterday, though other projects generally do not count toward this. I’ve found it takes about 300 words to get me going, and after 1300 words or so, I’m tired and exhausted. Need to regain my writing muscles!
May your writing continue well!