Friday, May 15, 2009

Serves Me Right

I hate outlines. Wait, that needs italics. I hate outlines.

But I do see their point.

Take, for example, this.

Critiquer R pointed out that about mid-way through the book, the characters are exploring the world, looking around, talking...but not really focused on the murders happening on the ship. But, I thought, that's where I'm putting in all that pretty world building.

Critiquer E pointed out that in the first couple of chapters I need more world building. But, I thought, I didn't know enough about the world when I first wrote those chapters. I added all that pretty world building later.

Flashforward to tonight. I'm staring at the book, wondering how to add more action to those world building chapters in the middle, more background to those first chapters. Oh. Oh. OH. I've got to move the world building in the middle chapters to the beginning chapters, and then rewrite those middle chapters to focus more on the action.

That's 12,000 (or so) words that need to be rearranged and rewritten. It's like chopping off a foot and attaching it to a shoulder. We're talking major surgery here.

I talked it over with the Husband, in part because he reads more sci fi than me, and I wanted to make sure my world-building-method wasn't cliche for the genre.

"That makes so much more sense to put all that middle stuff here at the beginning," says he.

"I know that now," says I.

"Why didn't you just do it that way the first time?"

Me: *growl*

"You know, I think this would have been so much simpler if you'd just thought this through. Like with an outline or something."

Me: *stabs husband in the face and traipses off to collect insurance money*

Just kidding! (They don't give insurance money for face stabbings. I know. I checked.)

OK, OK, OK. Enough whining. I've got 12k words to rearrange. *karate chops manuscript*


Anonymous said...

Ahahahahahaha re: *stabs husband.

Man, have I been there.

Vivian Mahoney said...

You're cracking me up. Good luck with the rearranging...of your manuscript, not your husband's face. Sorry, couldn't resist. ;-)

Jennifer said...

I don't mind outlining, but I'd rather just jump right in. But I find that I forget things or mess things up if I don't at least have some notes.

C. N. Nevets said...

Ah, how familiar that experience is. :)

I had a very similar awakening, and now love outlines. I've learned that I can get the same joy of exploration and discovery when I create the outline, and then a whole new sense of satisfaction when I turn that skeleton framework into real writing at the end.

Traci said...

Welcome to my world! LOL ;-)

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Good luck! An outline would probably be a God send for me, if I wasn't such a lazy writer.


Elana Johnson said...

This is made of awesome. I seriously think we're twins. I mean, I go through the same thing! By the time I finish a book, the beginning could belong to a completely different story! LOL. Good luck with your shoulder surgery! lololol

Casey Something said...

I can sympathize. I just finished figuring out what I need to do to mine. Iz not pretteh.

Heather Zundel said...

I'm sorry but can I laugh? I'm such an outline girl. Well, I prefer "connect-the-dots" kind of girl where I have key scenes I have in my head, but I have a lot of wiggle room for that free writing I need to discover cool things. Maybe something like that would be more to your, um, taste? ;) Don't kill the husband. Remember, he made you that pretty desk.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, I do outline, and this all STILL happens. All. The. Time. :)

Samantha Elliott said...

*sends over truckloads of ice cream for the recuperation* Good luck with the surgery!

Keri Mikulski said...

LOL! I feel your pain. I don't like outlines either. :)

Kate said...

Ouch. Good luck with rearranging 12k words.

Robyn Campbell said...

No matter what, I STILL hate outlining, and I always will!

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Beth, I am an outlining fiend and I still have major rearranging problems. Sometimes you just don't find the right way until you are immersed into it - so no face stabbing the hubby. I think waxing an eyebrow off while he sleeps is far more effective.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

The more and more I write the more I need outlines.

Danyelle L. said...


If writing a good book was easy, everyone would be doing it. :D Most people just dream of doing it.

*sets outlines on fire*

I'm with you in the not liking outlines camp. If the story went according to the outline, it would work out so much better. But, for me, they seldom do.

The Screaming Guppy said...

Good luck with the revisions. I find outlining helpful, generally. Until, you know, I change the whole thing halfway through writing.