Got back into the swing of things today. I realized why I was having some issues – this is a complex, multi-episode story which will span several “seasons”. I’m seeing at LEAST 20 episodes to this. Likely a lot more, before I finish the story (not terrible, when you recall that the episodes are about 15k words – so about 6 episodes to a normal novel length, which means at least three seasons.).
Since I spent much of today working on outlining, I thought I’d talk about that a bit today.
I have some ideas about future bits for the story, but largely I am letting the tale take itself where my imagination wants it to go. I’m keeping things open to change. But I’m not quite “writing into the dark” on this one – I’ve had a loose outline. And then for the last bit, I haven’t. And I realized that for this next bit, at least, the story I wanted to tell is complex enough that it warranted an outline.
So I sat down and wrote one. I didn’t do a complex outline, mind. I wrote down about a sentence for each major action point, for the three major plotlines being followed. That’s enough to cue my mind to remember what is supposed to be happening when, and where. Much more than that, and I’d worry that I’d lose excitement in telling the story. Much less, and I’m foundering, trying to figure out what happens next.
It’s my method. I don’t need a lot of information on the outline page. Really, what I use are “trigger words”, which remind me of what I envision a scene looking like. They call to mind a couple of visual images from the scene which excite me, and then my job becomes writing the connective tissue to bring the whole scene to life.
Other people write complex “beats”: entire paragraphs for each scene. And some writers do nothing at all in advance – they completely “write into the dark”, without any sort of pre-writing. I find myself testing the water in both directions, and use different models on different stories, but the method I just used here is the one I lean toward, in general.
Got some good writing sessions in during the evening, after the outline was set up. I made a total of 2000 words today. Back on track!
Fiction words today: 2000 Fiction words this month: 4000
Blog words today: 384 Blog words this month: 1995