Outline is Finished!

The exhaustion is really hitting hard right now. This past week I've had to use a lot of will-power to force my way through a day. I always have this exhaustion, but it's definitely been worse lately. Tonight, my eyes are having the annoying habit of trying to close all on their own. Definitely a night to head to bed early.

But first, an update on the NaNoWriMo novel: The outline was finished this weekend, topping out at 11,008 words. I've put it to the side now, and later this week I will look through it again with fresh eyes to make sure, one last time, that all the key plot elements are in the right order and that it makes sense.

Seems like a long outline, but it really isn't. The basic premise of this novel is simple, but like a mystery, certain things have to happen in a certain sequence. I plotted out 10+ separate plot-threads, all of which needed to be kept track of.

And now to get something off my chest:

/rant mode on/

Upon hearing how long my outline was, a fellow writer began saying it was ridiculous, that's too much, a story should be a journey of discovery for the writer as well as the reader. The whole idea is to start off with no or only a small idea on where you are going, and just see what happens.I believe the analogy involved driving down a road on a dark and stormy night where you can only see as far as the headlights. All else is a mystery.

First: If I'm out in such a dark and stormy night, you better believe I would have a destination in mind, even if it's just to get to the next town to pull off until the storm passed.

Second: I'm the AUTHOR of this. If I have no clue what the heck is going on or where it's heading, why should a reader trust me to take them for a ride?

Third: I only have so much energy to do anything. If I decide I'm going to write something, I'm not going to waste my time writing something that has a much greater likelihood of never being finished, and therefore a colossal waste of my time. My time and energy are far too valuable to do that. (Oh, how I envy people who have normal energy levels)

I view an outline as a roadmap: I know the destination, and there are all these lovely ways to get there. In the outline I have chosen one. Does that mean I have to follow that one path all the time, in order to get to that destination? Absolutely not! But I do know that in so many miles I need to fuel the car, in a few more I need to eat, a few more I'll need a nap, a few more I'll need to stop for the night. Those won't change, no matter what direction I take to get to the destination.

Along the way, I may see a roadside attraction that will make the journey much more interesting. Will I take it? Absolutely! I'm flexible! But since I still know the stops I need to make along the way, I'll still get to the final destination. And yes, the destination can change, too. Perhaps it ends in the suburbs instead of the middle of the city, but the first destination was still needed in order to find that new destination.

As detailed as this outline is, there is still a great flexibility and room for expansion, change and discovery. But, I'm much more comfortable to find those things now that I know that I have the basics down well enough that the book isn't going to completely fall apart shy of a finale.

Time and again, the advice comes back for writers to find a way that works for the individual author. No one way is THE right way. Don't come down on someone who likes using a roadmap, whether it be large or small, to help them. Quoting author after famous author who refuse to use outlines does not help your case, because there is author after famous author to contradict it. If you want to start on your journey without any guide, meander all around and HOPE you find a destination, fine, then do it. As a different author than you, I reserve the right NOT to do it that way.

/rant mode off/

By the way, I also read instruction, am willing to ask for help and am not afraid to ask someone for directions if I'm lost. Yes, that means I'm obviously not a man and am somewhat of a geek. 😉

Perhaps I should have said a Nerd. I took this test this weekend, and yes, my suspicions are now proven true. I am a true Nerd. Might as well carry the title proudly!

Outline is Finished!

Time for bed now….zzzzzzzzzzz

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