On Sunday evening, I sat back and stared at the 7,000 words I’ve written so far in the reboot of The Golden Sands. I’ve become very attuned to the sensations I experience while writing, and was well-aware of the dull weight I felt in my fingers.
The story, while active and interesting, was ultimately going nowhere. I had an ending in mind, and had executed the beginning properly, but the middle was the Swamps of Sadness in my mind.
And then I noticed something: This is the first book I’ve worked on in seven years that didn’t involve an outline phase. Granted, it was supposed to be a shot-for-shot remake, split into three smaller books, with a few tweaks to make them work as single books. It never occurred to me that this project would get so out of hand and require almost complete revision on the first third.
(I hope I get this outline done in time to finish this project before November. I’m writing more these days than I have since NaNoWriMo ’10.)
This has got me thinking about outline formats. For this project, once I realized the weakness in my approach, I created a Google Spreadsheet and mapped out the upcoming events. I have a lot of brainstorming to go, but it provides that essential structure.
I’ve experimented with writing apps that offer character profiles and detailed plot structuring, but they always seemed to be too much work. Granted, messing with outlines at all must appear tedious to those used to freewriting, but just because I like structure doesn’t mean I want to obsess with details.