Well, yesterday I both made good progress and no progress. I finished expanding the character bios, which was fun. However -comma- I was up proverbial creek without my previous notes that had been housed on the computer that’d crashed: I could not for the life of writing find the same place on the map.
At first, I thought it might have been flooded out, but after longer than I care to admit, I found a site that listed ghost towns. Nothing that fit what I remembered was listed. [insert heavy sigh.] So [insert another heavy sigh], I kept looking for someplace that would suffice.
After far too many hours, I finally found one that mostly conformed with certain geographical and topographical features in the older short story. I dug a little (read: a lot) more and found some statistics that with selective use of literary license would still fit.
Bookmarked, copied, checked and rechecked again all the info sites I’d found during the day, and joyfully if tiredly closed them all down.
I will admit that I took “frustration” breaks and worked on expanding my story outline. I still need to do some work on it tomorrow and perhaps the next as well, but now that I have a definite location, it’ll be easier to annotate the appropriate details later.
Pause here for a quick aside: If you follow a leading guide on quick writing of a book, the person wrote and sells it advises leaving a marker in your outline for the “come back later” details, and I do recommend that, regardless of your deadline. All I can say is that my defense is twofold:
“Do as I say, not as I do”
“Did I forget to mention that I’m occasionally too tenacious for my own good?”
So, tomorrow’s agenda looks like this:
- Complete environmental structure: Three general settings and two detailed settings. Outline cultural influences for area and distances for time allotment.
- Finish chapter descriptions and five sub-point questions and answers for each: Each chapter has its own bullet point. Within each, I list five specific things that I might want to include, involving either character development or plot motion.
- Start free-writing on each chapter synopsis and a few sub-points: Keep these short and simple. No self-editing on structure. Let the creativity flow, and the editing will come later.
Once the outline is completed, it should (knock on wood) take roughly 25-30 hours of writing time to complete a first draft. No, that’s not a lot of time, but this isn’t the finished product. If history repeats itself, I could have as many as five preliminary drafts before I choose elements and meld or edit the last draft into the final draft.
Without this highly detailed outline, though, that will guide the actual writing, that first draft creation time could be weeks. Having that step-by-step map, however, avoids getting stuck, writing myself into a corner or down a blind alley. I (should) know what hint or clue or detail to drop when and what strings to tie by the time the book ends. No leaps of faith, involved, for the readers should be led exactly where I want them to go.
Now, it’s time for me to get started, so I’ll bid you a temporary adieu, and we’ll talk again tomorrow. Unless, of course, you’d care to leave a reply or even [looks around innocently] offer a title suggestion.
Thanks for reading.
- Writing a New Book, Day 1: Initial Outline/Character Biographies (wordsmithworks.org)
- Outlining versus Free Writing (richardreilly.wordpress.com)
- It’s Okay if You’re Not Perfect (selfpubauthors.com)
- Writing the First Draft of My First Novel 01 (silenciobarnes.com)