Outlined: The First Draft

First draft of the outline is DONE! Done done done done done.

Buffalo Writes - Book outlined printed up and on a table.

(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.

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