Disaster Update

The other day, I said to myself, “Self, you need to back up this novel. This copy on your laptop is the only one you have.” Neglecting my own advice, I proceeded to drop said laptop on the following day. After much ado with Best Buy and other third parties, I have come to the conclusion that the data is lost.

Strangely, this brought me some sense of relief, which led me to believe that I was writing the wrong story. I had invested so much time into it though, that I had been reluctant to extract myself and start anew.

So I have done just that: Began anew. Fear not, brave reader, this blog will continue. Why this very evening, I have created bold new vistas, startling fresh characters and plot twists to set your blood aboil. So stay tuned to this channel, bat fans, for the same gripping commentary and aspersions that you have come to expect.

Novel & Story Writing: Outline or Freeform

As I begin work on my third novel (all unpublished to date — I’m working on it), I find myself discovering incredible value in the outline. When I first began writing long-form fiction, I embraced the romantic notion that one just began in a flurry of inspired passion, starting with sentence one and rushing to the end. No doubt, there are successful authors who have used this technique. But increasingly, I ask myself, why?

It very well may be the nature of the tale I enjoy spinning, with myriad characters following their own intertwining paths through the story. I suppose if you were writing a simple story of one man with a singular obstacle,  an outline would be less necessary. Even then, there would be value.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of discovery through writing. It’s imperative I think. And there will be always be rewrites, even with the best-planned outlines. But an outline allows you to see the big picture that otherwise would, at least on some levels, elude the writer.

I use the term outline loosely here. My current outline consists of scene descriptions, character stories and even world descriptions. But as I develop my “outline,” I have found the thrill of creative discovery that rivals that found in writing straight pose. And I think that discovery comes from seeing how all these objects interact in my little world — often with delighted surprise.

I am incredibly anxious to start the prose phase, but I also am embracing the joy found in crafting a well-thought-out plot, filled with relevant and intriguing characters.

Words are messy, but they’re the only ones we’ve got.