Over the last few days I’ve done a lot of crying, thinking, praying, and eating (Taco Chex Mix – yummy). As I’ve calmed down and let God begin to minister to my heart, I’ve realized one very important writing-related thing:
When I wrote my first novel, it was in the “pantser” style (for those of you how are unfamiliar, that’s short hand for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants). I had an idea, I sit down, and I wrote. It wasn’t very good.
Now I’m working on #2. I’ve got over 40,000 words, but it’s not coming together. There’s a tension as I try to bring my characters together and weave their lives together. The more I write, the more I realize certain characters wouldn’t really do this or that, and I wonder if that problem is really such a big deal (and therefore strong enough to act as the main conflict). The more I write, the fiercer the struggle.
Since I put my manuscript aside I’ve been working on articles. I gather information, formulate a plan (which sometimes includes an outline), organize my notes, then write. My articles usually come together with minimal writing effort if my info is in place.
Why aren’t I doing that with my manuscript?? What I need is order – I need to have a plan in place, have my notes ready for review. If I had all of my info before I started, I imagine there wouldn’t be so many incoherent spots along the way.
So I’m appealing to all of you organization buffs – how did you learn to create your outlines, write up story boards, and put things together? Did you use a book? Hear a lecture? Meet a helpful alien?