Friday, May 11, 2012

Writing Marathon 36

Tonight's writing: 1 hr. Several hastily scribbled notecards.

This outline has been teaching me how to write a novel, verses my usual short stories and novellas.

The first lesson is that it takes longer to write a longer outline (duh). I don't think I've written that much by hand in one sitting in years. I've even got notes on the back of several of the scenes, trying to keep relevant background information where I'll probably use it later. Having reached scenes beyond the half-way point, I've been attacking areas of the setting and background that need to be expanded upon before the final drama can be orchestrated. So far my biggest reason for celebrating is that, if I had started writing this story as per my usual short-story methods, with a sparse outline, I can assure you that it would have petered out and died around word 10,000. A re-write might have salvaged 2,000 of those original words.

Speaking of word count, somehow I still have less than 30 cards, which with the way I write, is only a projected 60k. It's adult science fiction so I'll be needing more than 80k to keep it marketable, and accounting for wanting to cut this or that in revisions, I'm going to try for 90k. I'm not used to planning for novels, so that's something I'm keeping in mind as I decide things like, Do I add this character? Do I add this trial that addresses a secondary theme? Do I put a dude (or dudette) in there just to kill them off five scenes later? Yes, yes, yes. I need to say Yes for now and worry about combining characters or scenes later when I'm reviewing the outline before starting the first scene. Instead of getting rid of a character because he's not doing enough, I'm trying to think, what CAN he be doing, so that I can keep him and use him to muddle things up further? YES muddling and death! This seems to be the attitude I need right now to push through the rest of this outline.

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