Monday, May 30, 2011

No outline, no problem!

As far as I can recall, I started writing A HAND TO HOLD - my ghost story - three years ago.  Its present length is 56K, and yes, sections of that have been rewritten, and rewritten again, and chunks have been hacked off and jettisoned.  They totally deserved it, in all cases.  AHTH was carefully plotted, index-carded, and planned, and I am finding the last third of it just hell to write.  I know what I need but the words just won't come. 

I cannot rack up experience and hone my craft like that.

Enter my more recent project.  It's now called Rundiamair, which all good Googlers can find out is Gaelic for mystery, or hidden.  (If anyone knows how to actually SAY that word, please fill me in.)  With this one, I am writing just for exercise.  Just for joy.  And I have written over 10K in the last three weeks.  Just about 20% of the word count for the last three years, in THREE DAMN WEEKS.  Can I tell you how good that feels?  And the thing is, I don't really know what's coming except for the next short bit - which leaves plenty of room for a Swamp Monster to attack in Chapter Three, a Certain Someone who is not who he claims to be (but who is he, you ask?  I DON'T KNOW!  Isn't that awesome?) a fairy changeling, and a near-death by poisoning. 

So yes, I'm having fun.  :o)  I'll have to remember this, the next time I'm stuck on project. 

What I'm curious to learn is whether the actual outline, the beforehand plotting of a story, really kills it for me.  Why would that be, I wonder?  How does that work?  My brain is having zero trouble developing subplots, characters, and story arcs - at least on this end of the story.  It's true I'm writing my usual "lite" first draft, which means I will go back later to flesh out my descriptions, add explanations for things I might not know just yet, plant foreshadowing and other plot devices.  But still.  The story comes as fast as I can type, and with the exception of a major plotting decision I need to sort out, it's effortless.

All of this makes me think a lot of writing happens in areas of my brain where I'm not actually allowed to go, as if there are NO TRESPASSING signs in areas where I'm likely to screw stuff up if I start interfering.  Heartbeat, breathing, blinking, and yeah, maybe writing.  You know, the really critical stuff.  I'm going to look into this some more this week.  There are a lot of people who can't write to an outline, are you one of them?


Danica-Dragonfly said...

First off, I am (obviously) not a writer ... I have no credentials, no experience and really no business even sharing my opinion here ... except for one thing, I am a human being and I am the type that can't fill out a form if you have to put your letters inside boxes.

My brain just!

I chalk this phenomenon up to my brain's inability to take direction from the outside world. Could it be that your outline is like a "box" that your brain resents being forced to 'write inside"?

Just a thought ...


Cindy said...

Hi Dani,

EXACTLY. You're exactly right. Now I'm so stubborn I even refuse to take direction from myself. :o)

Of course you're a writer, and your opinion is welcome and valued by me anytime!

Deniz Bevan said...

I'm the same as you - I can never plan a story in advance, or it won't get written. Just have to charge into it and see what happens!