I have hit a wall.
A wall I have avoided for a long time now.
A wall most professional authors need to learn how to climb.
A wall I have learned to hate.
A wall called... OUTLINING.
As most of you know, I am in the process of revising my book, but "revising" isn't a strong enough word. I am in the process of a full-on rewrite. This is something I chose to do but at the time didn't realize how painful it would be.
Last week, after successfully completing 40,ooo words, I realized one of my sub-plots wasn't working. In addition, the time frame was off and another sub-plot felt extraneous. To say that I felt like crying would be an understatement. I felt like ripping my hair out and stabbing myself with pencils. How could I have gotten 40,ooo words in and screwed up like this?
In my defense, I write like some wonderfully talented people paint. I apply layer upon layer of words until I get it right. If something doesn't feel right, I add (or cut) more words, smashing and crashing it around until a beautiful portrait emerges. This method has served me well, until now. Right now I need a master plan. An outline. And what really drove it home for me was watching my new favorite show "On the Road with Austin and Santino." Just like Project Runway, I noticed the guys draping their dress forms to decide what the finished dress would look like BEFORE they began actually constructing it. They were draping and pinning and moving fabric around without ever stitching a thing. Not to mention the sketches they were pausing to create. These were master craftsmen who were, in essence, OUTLINING their creations.
Yes, the dress form sealed it for me in terms of deciding I had to do this, but actually writing one still scared me to death. Outlining meant knowing everything that was going to happen before I wrote it. Right? Well, sometimes I just don't. Sometimes I discover my story AS I write it, so this outlining business has always made me feel boxed in, un-artistic, and uncomfortable.
SO, I did what I have learned to do for any dilemma. I prayed about it.
And the answer was the same: YOU NEED TO LEARN THE SKILL OF OUTLINING!
But, as God so often does, he sent several angels to lead the way.
To be continued...
To be continued with all of the outlining tips I have received and more about how I intend to achieve this. SF will also be posting about her experiences with outlining, including how it pertains to illustrations. And PLEASE, if you have any advice, we'd love to hear it! In fact, we beg you for it :)