Current Word Count Stats
Today: [postwc] | Month: [postmonthwc] | Year: [postyearwc]
I had today off from the Day Job, but I had another job to complete today. Yesterday I finished a new short story and I was trying to decide whether or not to try and start my new novel, or start a new short story.
I really wanted to get underway with the new novel. A few years ago I wrote the first Land Lubbers novel, Cabin Boys. I haven’t released it yet because I wanted to do illustrations at the start of each chapter and I hadn’t really started practicing my drawing/painting skills at the time. But it was a book that I enjoyed writing.
Interestingly, it was a novel inspired by a craft activity for kids during the Summer Reading Program at the library. While I was setting up the craft I had the idea, and during my break I had written down the key details of what would become the first novel a few months later when I started writing it in the fall. It was one of those cases when the inspiration is so strong that I simply had to write the book.
Since then, I’ve wanted to get back to those characters, and I had put the second and third book on my calendar for this year.
The Benefits of Outlines
I don’t outline books before I write. I trust my creative unconscious to tell the story that needs to be told, so I don’t really plan out my novels ahead of time. I may write a one page summary of what I think will happen, but then I rarely refer back to that or feel compelled to stick to it, when I write. For me (and all writers are different) outlining kills my interest in the project.
I have outlined. I’ve done index cards, scene outlines, chapter outlines, brief ones and detailed ones. When it comes to writing the book, though, I’ve found it works best not to have an outline ahead of time.
Outlines do have their place in my workflow. Especially when it comes to series. I wrote Cabin Boys years ago. I sent it to my Kindle and started reading to get a feel for the story and the characters, but what I really needed was an outline of the book. I needed to remind myself of the details of what happened, who all the characters were, and what the rules are in that world.
That’s what I spent my time today doing. After running errands this morning, I came back and worked for a time on the next story to release, preparing files, and then I started the outline.
Chapter by chapter, I reviewed the previous novel and made notes. I made a character list. I noted important details. I went through the entire book from first to last page. And you know what? I enjoyed it.
Now, if I was smart, I would have created the outline as I went while I wrote the book. Then I could have reviewed it, read over key sections and been ready to jump back into this world much faster. That’s what I think I’ll do in the future, whether or not I plan to write more books, just so I have a quick way to review my novels.
Because I spent so many hours working on the outline, I didn’t have much time left to write. I got started, though, and kept my streak going. That’s enough for today. Tomorrow I’ll try and get my word count back up where I like. In terms of overall word count, outline plus this post, I wrote quite a bit, but I only count new fiction in my tracking.
To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.
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