Thursday, May 21, 2015

Outlining – Again – to the Rescue

Above: How I feel when I get new ideas for a novel I'm working on.

I was once worried that I’d cut Doleful Creatures down too much.

I’m now north of 81,000 words and I’ve got a lot of story to write; I’m now worried it’s bloating up again.

But as I keep on saying, there’s a lot of story left to write. And to make this re-write more efficient, I’m resorting to my most hated of writing tasks, again: outlining.

So here’s what I’ve got to do to finish this thing up. Some of it is already done, but a lot of it is not:

Beavers, Jarrod, Chylus, Aloysius and the hawks at the dam. They start building.

Man in the Rock blown out of the second cliff, down creek, settles into the lady’s world in a deep pond.

The lady on the way, searching, knowing her realm has been found, but cannot sense entrance, nor where J&A are.

Magda comes to dam, lets them know the lady is on the way. They beg her to go back for a diversion so they can get into her realm first to see if they can do something to stop whatever nefarious mischief she’s up to or could do if she finds her way in.

Magda goes, Chylus is reluctant to have her go, but he is needed in the realm.

Magda off to fight the lady with animals she can find, the sparrows come to help.

The lady sense J&S finally, but is stopped on her way by Magda and company. She calls her starlings for help.

J&A penetrate into the realm, talk with the elephants.

Battle rages. The lady fights her way through and finds an entrance to the realm.

Below, Man in the Rock and the others on various tasks. Man in the Rock talks with the shadow of the lady left. Others foment rebellion among the captive animals.

The lady arrives, absorbs her shadow and grows in strength.

Silence of the animals and their departure causes her power to shrink and she fades, becomes itty-bitty snake.


Even this outline has some serious writing nuts to crack. What, exactly, does the Lady hope to do once she’s back in her realm, deep underground in the dark with a bunch of cranky animals? Why couldn’t she go there whenever she wanted? Maybe the magpies blocked her off? But they how did Jarrod and his kind get out? Are they the canary in the mine as far as nasty uncorporeal entities invading Earth? I just don’t know. Plot creep, I suppose. But it’s better than a revision ago, when I didn’t have much of a plot to speak of.

What’s more frightening: I think I’ve got to go back and edit at least one more time again anyway, in order to more fully develop the characters of Chylus and Jarrod. It’s funny to see Jarrod really taking a back seat to other characters, seeing as he started out as the main bird. Subsequent rewrites, however, have helped me develop other characters as I saw how they fit better into the story. In doing so, however, I’ve neglected my main character and his corvid sidekick. So back to the drawing board for them.

Given what I’ve got to write, I won’t be surprised if this book hits 90,000 words before the end.
Then I have to find more beta readers to help me before this book takes over. As if it hasn’t already.

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