20 November 2006

NaNo – Day 20, Laying Tracks Around The Periphery

So far I've been following my outline. Sort of. It's in a rough order of how I thought the action should progress. I've jumped around a few times when what I was writing didn't want to stop at the point I designated. When I was in Kadi and Dzaro's scene, their discussion/argument wanted to be continued on, so the next day I picked up where I left off with them instead of switching over to Gethel's POV. I also got abrainstorm for a scene in the antagonist's POV that wasn't in the outline at all, so I added it in, wrote it, then went from there.

Interesting things, outlines. It helped me plan out the novel, but now that I'm actually writing it, I see where some of my gaping plot holes are. I'm wondering how I will approach the next draft of this novel. The one I set aside to work on this had a very rough outline at best. I was in the process of muddling through the middle when I put it aside to write my NaNo novel. I know where I want to be towards the end, what needs to be set up, but the actually writing to get there was far harder than I anticipated. I suffer from linearitis. I have a hard time jumping ahead to write the end, I'm much more comfortable progressing in a more or less straightforward manner. The one time I tried to bypass this instinct, it made me so uneasy that I've never done it again.

I found another good tool recently. I send chapters out to a round robin critique group (Hi, KC), and decided since 6 weeks elapses between chapters, that some sort of summary was in order. Being forced to read a chapter analytically and produce a several sentence summation did wonders for my outlining ability. Hit the high points and move on. Before I got bogged down in minutia, now I sketch the action, catalyst, and result and call it good. For me, taking those three sentence summaries and opening them into six or twelve sentence summations helped immensely.

My writing got easier without my poor brain trying to do the outlining while writing dialogue. I'm all for easy ways out, and the more I can immerse myself in my characters and leave the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain pulling the levers; the faster I seem to write. Of course, some of the dialogue is fairly cheesy. That's why I'm not allowing myself to go back. On this quest, looking behind means being captured by the Control Monster, you know, the one that works with Bob the Internal Editor in their never ending plot to derail my writing choo-choo. I think I got them beat this time, 'cause they're running down the tracks behind me. Throw another shovelful of rambling on the fire, plot gerbils. I'm headed for the station.

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