On Writing (I’ve probably used that title before.)

So I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. Usually I’m what people call a pantser, meaning I write whatever comes and don’t really do any planning beyond “I have this idea, and here’s this character. Let’s see what happens.” Pantsers do a LOT of stream of consciousness type of writing. The downside is that it’s easy to write yourself into a corner, lose the plot entirely, or simply just not be able to find a decent opening to the story. But in order to meet a deadline (NaNoWriMo is from November 1st to the 30th, for those who are not aware) there is no way I can do the seat-of-my-pants type of writing for this. However, I do have an idea I’ve wanted to work on for over 5 years now and just never found a good way to work with it.

I’ve sat down and made an outline – something I haven’t done since college. But due to previous time management issues (a tempermental toddler at the top of that list) I was not able to finish the outline. It sat for months. I went back to it a few nights ago and read through it, intending to continue onward with building the structure of the story. And I hated it. I know that we are often our own worst critics, in everything that we do, but this was plain and simple rubbish. It was kind of interresting. The sort that if I found it online, yeah I might give it a read. But not something I’d think worthy of being put into even an e-book form.

So I started over. I pulled the good parts of the old outline into the new one, and found that I was going to have some key plot points happen out of order and far too early. Now, however, I’ve found a solid opening scene that sets the tone for the overall book and I’m very happy with it. From there I was able to flesh out the plot a little better, adding and removing characters from scenes so that it made more sense and flowed better. I even managed to figure out a simpler, but much better fitting title for the book as well.

I’ve now got the time, energy, and patience for banging out at least a rough draft once I finish the outline. I’m very satisfied with the notes I’ve made, and can’t wait to start the book in November.