T-minus ten days and counting until Nov. 1st (which reminds me–buy birthday card for Mom!) I don’t think I’ve ever spent this amount of time outlining something before I just gave up and started writing it in my life. Well, maybe back in my teen years when I had this urge to write and nothing to say. Back then, all I did was outline until I got bored with whatever my story idea was (because there was no passion behind it) and tucked the half-finished outline in a bottom drawer.
Actually, like scrollgirl, I am writing a little bit of text of my NaNo “novel.” OK, probably a lot of text, but I’m not counting words, and it’s mostly scribblings of dialogue. Dialogue is always what I write in the “first pass” through the text of my new episodes. It serves as a kind of “skeleton” of a scripted scene and therefore is “practically part of the outline anyway.”
What I’ve figured out so far as a result of this outlining:
Episode 4 wasn’t long enough. So I kept adding new material to it to fill it out, and that ended up changing my entire conception of the episode from the original plan. But that’s writing for you. The ep’ll probably change completely *again* when I start actually writing it. This is one reason I usually don’t outline much before I write–the outline almost inevitably gets tossed out once I start getting into the nitty-gritty details that can only come with the actual writing of the text. It’s only then that I realize all the connecting details that need to be in place in order to get my original conception to work (and realize it’s not *gonna* work). You just don’t get that level of detail in an outline which is, by definition, a semi-disconnected broad description of the narrative.
I think the outline of episode 4 has been beaten on long enough. Time to write that puppy. *checks calendar*
Episode 5, on the other hand, is too, too long. It’s gonna ROCK, dudes, as episodes go, but it’s too long. My original conception of it was really more the Connor A-story, with vague ideas about a Faith and Aiden-B story. But once I started outlining the B-story, it took on a life of its own, and rightly so. Connor isn’t the only character in my fic. Now, it’s likely that episode 5 will become episode 5 and 6.
Which kinda puts me in a quandary with regards to my original plan, which was to write a rough draft of three episodes (4, 5, and 6). I decided to do three since I assumed I would “overwrite” each them (as I always do). Writing 25-30% too much material and then having to cut it down seems to simply be part of my process. And, I calculated, three episodes over-written to that degree would be about 50,000 words. I could cut them down in December. But now? Episodes 5-and-6 (formerly just 5) will probably be shorter than normal because they started out as one episode.
So do I keep working on what is now episode 7 (used to be 6)? It’s semi-outlined already. It’s just, I have an entirely different problem with episode 6-now-7. Another thing that’s true of my writing is that I don’t plan too far ahead. I know what my seasonal themes are, I have some characters I’d like to see come back, but beyond that right now, I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen after episode 8-now-9 and I don’t want to know. Takes all the fun out of it.
The outline of Episode 6-now-7 is struggling because I really, really *need* to write 4 and 5/6 first before I know where my characters will be emotionally in Episode 6-now-7. Until I know that, and thus, how they’d react to various challenges, outlining the episode is almost a joke. So maybe I should just wait until later in November, and if I’m close to finishing 4 and 5/6 and don’t have 50,000 words and have time on my hands, I’ll outline 6-now-7 then and start to work on it.