First draft of the outline is DONE! Done done done done done.
(I’d like to say “done” just one more time before the revisions start. Le sigh…)
Six pages in all its full glory. I’ve actually written up until about page 3 (over 45,000 words, at last count), so that was just outlining work I’d already done, with some tweaks along the way. Page 3 and onward is all new material: the roadblock that had been holding up the writing. Now the entire book is outlined, from start to finish. Actually, with TWO finishes — I currently have two possible endings for this sucker. Need to figure out which is the “right” one.
Some darlings have already had to be killed. For a long time , I envisioned this reclusive monk community making an appearance about 3/4 of the way through the story. They were crystal-clear in my head — what they wore, what they looked like, where they lived and why. I thought they added a good element to the story, a chance for the main characters to pause and reflect — an element that was otherwise lacking.
But then… as I was outlining, the monks started to feel out of place. There didn’t seem to be a great spot for them; they provided a pause, yes, but in doing so they slowed down the action at a crucial point. But damn it, I’d dreamed up these monks and they were going in there. So I jammed them in and they fit… sort of. A nagging itch at the back of my brain told me it just didn’t work. And when I got feedback from my outline group — yeah, they agreed. The monks had to go. It wasn’t even that hard of a decision. Seeing the entire story all laid out, it was pretty clear what belonged and what didn’t.
(And I have to say — I’m SO SO GLAD I figured that out now, rather than writing a bunch of monk scenes and only THEN figuring out they didn’t work. This outlining can be a drag, but it definitely is a timesaver in the long run.)
There are a few kinks that still need to be worked out — but that’s what revisions are for. The jigsaw puzzle is SO CLOSE to being put together. And after that, of course, I have to write the remaining 30,000 or so words… but I feel like progress is being made. And it feels damn good.