Tuesday 23rd June 2020
I wish I could outline faster.
The novel outline is still a mess. It’s a collection of partial story arcs, and whilst it’s started to mix at the end, the middle is just a mess. Some arcs stall, others have needless repetition.
The more you write, the more you learn about your own process. I know that it typically takes me a month to outline a novel. I want to go faster but like a car with the gas pedal all the way to the floor, some things have upper limits.
I tend to have bursts of inspiration, when an idea will spark and all the jigsaw puzzle pieces (or a large number of the pieces) connect in a “how can I not have seen this?” moment.
But when I sit down to work on an outline, I never know if that inspiration will hit. Instead, I have to be its servant, waiting patiently for my brain to figure out the connections.
I did get one more action scene today. That’s good. Those beats are needed to help carry the story through those more introspective plot-heavy moments. The latter come more easily as the focus of the outline is plot. The action pieces are things I have to actively remember to include.
And as much as I might take myself off to do something else to trick my mind, my brain doesn;t seem to be falling for that trick at the moment.
What’s left to do?
Plot A needs a bit more motive and setting up so that the conclusion makes sense. I need plot A to end in a physical location, and I have to establish how it gets there. But, I also need to understand the wants of the characters that sit primarily in plot A.
Plot B has a bit of the opposite problem. There are a number of stages that need to happen to reach the end. However, there are too many. I need them for the threat at the end to seem real, but I need varying outcomes and with so many there’s a danger of repeats
Plot C has been helped by connecting with plot A. That’s given a lot of motive. But here’s a danger that the steps I need as part of that repeat plot arc B. Plot arc B already has too much repetition as it is, and having Plot arc C mirror it just compounds the problem.
I think I must be making progress as I’m reaching the stage where I hate it all. That’s usually the stage right before everything comes together.
But… Urgh! I want to have this done. I’m close to hating some of the plot arcs, and I’m starting to hate the process. I know my own process well enough to know that this is how it goes. Whether it be writing or outlining there has to be that point when you want to just throw it all away, stop writing and go live in a hut on some remote Scottish isle and never see a book ever again.
But I also know, that this stage will pass and I’ll pull it all together. I just wish I was there already!
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