Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Outlining and rewriting: two things I don't like to do.

Two things I've been fighting the necessity of for a long time.

Outlining and Rewriting.

Of course, all the advice is that you should do both, but I just couldn't seem to work that way.

Well, guess what? After having written quite a few novels, I've come to the conclusion that I just can't afford not to do both things.

By outlining, I mean a pretty firm handle on the plot, the character, the theme.  By rewriting I mean -- when I think I'm finished, do it one last time.

So I'm trying to install both of these steps into my process.

My first full outline is going to be The Darkness You Fear. I want to know where I'm going before I start.

Obvious, no?

Well, I didn't like outlining for a long time. Oh, I'd do a rough outline as I went along, but I usually was only a few chapters ahead, until at least half the book, and then the rest of the story would come to me. Still rough, but a general idea. Sometimes this works fine. Sometimes it leads me down blind alleys.

I felt like I couldn't discover the story without writing it, and I was afraid outlining would detract from my creativity. So it's been a real Catch-22: I can't outline until I write the story, I can't write the story effectively until I outline.

I've now had enough experience to realize that the more I outline, the better off I am.  So I'm trying to think it through as much as possible.

For instance -- when I decided to rewrite of Blood of the Succubus, I had a very good idea of what I needed to do.  In other words, an outline. And it came so smoothly. I wrote to specifications. I didn't get sidetracked, I didn't mess with the continuity. It didn't seem to detract from the creativity at all.

As far as the rewriting is concerned -- in truth, I always ended up doing that final rewrite, but each time it was touch and go as to whether I wanted to do it or would do it or whether I thought it improved the book.

I've come to the firm conclusion that it helps.

What I feared was the dreaded Word-Jumble, which definitely happens, but I've decided it doesn't matter.  So what if I fall out of love with my book? -- I've improved it so that maybe other people will like it more. That's the price I pay.

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