Outline Progress

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:

  1. good: it gives you an intimate knowledge of the story and its current state.
  2. good: it brings forward lots of ideas to improve the story.
  3. 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?

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