Sunday, March 29, 2009


It's been a while since I've put up a piggy-back post, and I think Jenny's latest deserves some piggy-backing. She's thinking about process these days, it would seem. Dickens wrote things out, Jenny sort of writes things out, and then she asks how the rest of us do it.

When I think about it, it seems like the projects I've outlined/pre-written the most, are those I've been least successful with. I'm not sure what the correlation is, but there's something about either why I pre-write, or the pre-writing itself, that trips me up. With the bar novel I started a while back, I did a lot of outlining & pre-writing. The novel never really got off the ground.

With Cass, I've been making notes in the Cass Bible, but those are all reference to make sure technical details - like the color of a character's hair - stay consistent. There's no plot involved. CRP is going smoothly. I'm not writing it linearly at all, I keep skipping around from one scene to another, then back again, but each time I finish one piece, I know which piece to work on next.

A few days ago, while I was re-reading and revising, I came across a scene that I knew I needed to make a little bigger, but wasn't ready to tackle. I inserted the note, "make bigger here, they need to have a fight," and moved on. Yesterday, I went back and wrote the fight. That's as close as I've gotten to outlining.

I think maybe the reason I dislike outlining and have little success with it is because once I make an outline, it feels like the ideas are all on the page and out of my head. When I don't write it down, I keep tossing the ideas around in my mind until I'm ready to write them out in full. It's like outlining for me is picking the fruit before it's ripe.