Saturday, October 16, 2010

Moving Along Nicely...

...on the road to 2010 NaNo-dom. Just finished a rough outline for my next effort in the "month of writing dangerously." This year's novel is a sequel to my 2007 NaNo, Leonard the Great: Dragon Friend (still in editing hell). The working title is Leonard the Great: Boulderhead.

The outline itself is five full pages, divided into nineteen chapters. Most of the descriptions are two or three paragraphs long (per chapter). A few are five paragraphs long, others are only a sentence in length. The idea for this first draft is to get the very vaguest idea of what's going to happen in my manuscript. I have succeeded on that count and am pleased with the overall direction of the story.

I'll spend the rest of October going through this version, revising and expanding the notes I've made. Right now, the story mostly makes sense. Hopefully, it will completely make sense by the end of the month. No guarantees!

I'm not a rigid slave to my outlines, delighting in discovering plot and character elements along the way that I had no idea were coming, but a decent one really helps to get the ball rolling. Although some writers claim they can start writing without an outline, I can't imagine starting something as large and complex as a novel without having a pretty good idea of where I'm headed. Yay, outlining!

4 comments:

Keith Robinson said...

This sounds just like my own methods. I have an outline too, only I admit that most of the outline hasn't yet been committed to paper. I started a chapter summary (just a paragraph per chapter) and got to about chapter 13 when I start nodding knowingly to myself, thinking, "Ah, yes, I see where this is going."

This line of thinking usually leads me to believe that I no longer need to continue with the chapter summary. In truth I will continue with it, but in very broad strokes. I tend to deviate from the summary anyway; I think of it more as a line of signposts, leading me to a specific destination on the horizon, which I follow but not without nipping off into the undergrowth for a little exploration along the way.

For me, the important thing is knowing the overall plot, knowing in detail how it all starts, leaving the middle fairly vague so I can have some fun along the way, and knowing in detail how it ends. And along the route are scenes that I want/need to incorporate.

Having said all that, I do intend fleshing out the summary a bit more before I get started on November 1st!

Roger Eschbacher said...

Yes, vagueness is our friend when outlining. Overall idea of where the story is going, lots of suggestions on how I can get there -- makes it a little easier to fire up the desktop and start cranking out my 2k on those cold November mornings!

Mr. Walker said...

I too have to have an outline in order to write. And this year, I'm going to have my ending much better worked out in my outline that I did last year. But I'm still going to leave some room to figure stuff out as a I write. Good luck this year!

Roger Eschbacher said...

Thanks, Mr. Walker! Best of luck to you, too.