You know, with my first novel, I didn’t really know if  I could do it. Finish it, I mean.

I knew what the story was because it had been rattling around in my brain for a couple of years, but I had no idea if I had a finished manuscript in me. So I took a crack at it. I plotted it out, created an outline and then started writing. I kept it to myself, and nobody read it until I was done three drafts.

When I finished it, the process of creating a synopsis and a query summary revealed structural edits that needed doing. Thankfully, the story concept was robust enough to handle changes of that nature, at that stage of the game.

With novel #2, I’m finding the approach I’m taking is quite different:

  • First off, I’m confident I can finish it! *woot!*
  • Second, I want to nail down all that structural stuff first.
  • Third, I’m a lot more interested in testing the early planning stages.

I like the “soak time” this approach entails. Any time I have for daydreaming is spent inventing new bits of plot, putting bits of the puzzle together, taking it apart, and then trying it a whole new way.

Anyhow, I guess what I’m trying to say is this: just because you did it one way before, doesn’t mean you  have to do it that way again. Learn. Adapt. And as they say here in the Maritimes: give’r.



2 thoughts on “Approaches

  1. I didn’t exactly outline with this last novel. I had rough ideas for the three acts as well as the key scenes/incidents that led from one act to another. About 2/3 of it ended up being rewritten. I love the end result — have been getting _phenomenal_ response from my betas but I can’t help but wonder if it might have taken less time–if those rewrites would have been necessary–if I had done a detailed outline.

    I think I’m going to try and do a thorough, chapter by chapter, outline of my next project. I was able to do that with revisions so I should be able to do it from scratch. Terrifying, though.

    • I am a fan of outlines. Some people seem to frown on them because they tie you down as you’re writing. But who says you have to follow the outline, right? I diverged from the path I’d set out several times – but I had a good reason when I did it. So I guess I’m a little from the free-form writing column, and a little from the outlining column. Hey – have a great Christmas!

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