It was with great joy and not a little tiredness that I completed the detailed outline for Shapes last night. That is why I didn’t post anything on the blog yesterday – I was writing the last few summary sentences for the novel.
There’s good and bad about this detailed outline process:
- good: it gives you an intimate knowledge of the story and its current state.
- good: it brings forward lots of ideas to improve the story.
- bad: it takes a long time. I started this outline at the beginning of the year, so it’s taken me almost eight weeks for a 100k manuscript. There again, I do now have a 30k outline.
Having completed that significant effort, what’s next?
My plan for the year was to pick up Song for a bit, to review that second draft and fix it up for publication, but having built the car I want to take it for a spin.
So the new plan is to work with the outline to make Shapes into a better story. There’s a handful of things I need to do and lots of ideas for things I want to try out. These include:
- fixing timing issues
- who knows what when
- tweaking the initial conditions
- making the antagonists more consistent in their behavior
- defining the protagonist’s abilities a bit better
- fiddling with the plot to improve the pacing
- completing the closing scenes (because the fourth act was truncated which lost a lot of the character motivation information)
I am expecting to work on this outline until it’s done, then take a break from it before writing the second draft. We’ll see whether the car holds up.
How are your writing efforts going? Do you use outlines?