Thursday, March 24, 2011

Outlining, and Progress Bar

So there are three kinds of writers when it comes to approaches to a writing project. Outliners, pantsers (discover writers) and in-betweeners.

Outliners figure out the story in advance by creating an outline. Some are extremely detailed, others are a single page.

Pantsers don't have an outline. They start writing from the seat of their pants and find out what happens as it goes along. This is also called discover writing because, well, they discover the story as they write.

In-betweeners do a little outlining and then sort of seat of their pants it.

I started as an in-betweener leaning toward pantser. No more. Outlining is my future.

The genesis of the Bigfoot world was an idea that popped into my head several years ago. Where did it come from? What was I thinking about that caused it to pop up? I have no idea. I do recall saying to myself, that would be a cool idea for a novel. I was quite enthusiastic about it for two or three hours.

When my nephew challenged me to do NaNoWriMo, I knew what story I would tackle right away. Fortunately I had lots of notice, nearly a year before the next NaNo cycle would start. So that January, while on a Disney cruise with my family, I started jotting down notes about my Bigfoot world.

I had no notion of the story, though. I spent many hours on deck, writing in my Black and Red, but no story came up. Eventually I had to stop world building and force myself to focus on story. I had the vaguest notion that it started with a group of kids hiking in the mountains.

I created terrible outlines for three books on that trip, and some of it stayed. I jettisoned most of it, but some of it remains. Hopefully, the good parts.

So that brings me to today.

Faced with editor feedback on book 1, I realized it was necessary to outline the book. What an interesting process. I learned a lot about the structure of the book and now can easily see where the changes and additions need to go. So now it's time to get busy and do it.

The progress bar for book 2 will be frozen for a while, I'm afraid. I will put up a progress bar for Book 1 edits. I won't know the word count goal behind this one until I've finished outlining the changes and additions, so the progress bar will sit empty for a bit. My gut tells me it's going to require about 15,000 more words, net. But since I'll have to delete a few things, I'll probably need to write closer to 20,000.

Then it will have to go back for edit of the new material . . . then it can be prepared for launch, which is still May 1st. We shall see . . .

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