Monday, May 23, 2011

Ah-Ha Outline Moment

Recently I reopened my Midnight Raynne manuscript and decided that it was going back into my WIP pile. Yes, there's a WIP pile currently in my bedroom. It consists of four binders with information that I'm am working on for four separate projects. Well, two of them are related, Midnight Raynne and it's sequel. Still, four WIPs in different stages of development.

So, I decided that I needed a new outline for my Midnight Raynne WIP, but also that the current form of outline was not going to cut it. For my first round of editing I created a spreadsheet and focused on tightening up the plot. For my second round of editing I created another spreadsheet that dealt with characters. For my third and forth edits I just went back through manually looking for things, no outlines or spreadsheets. Then my fifth edit really only consisted of adding a new chapter. This is round six, but looking back I see that it could have only been round four, maybe.

That is if I had only created THE OUTLINE first. I'm not using the spreadsheet outline anymore. Instead I've opened a word file and started it out as an actual outline. Each chapter is a separate point. Within each chapter I take a look at plot, character, setting, and pacing/conflict. Then I break each one of those points down even more depending on the characters involved, the plot, and so on. It's been a very tedious job so far. I'm only about a third of the way through my WIP and I still have a long ways to go.

So what is so different this time?

Well, I seem to be learning so much more about the world I'm writing, the characters, and the plot. Before I thought I had good characters and a good plot. I had an idea of what each character thought, but I realize now that I didn't really. I've started looking at each character in depth and in the outline I write what they are thinking, doing, their motives for what they are up to in that particular chapter.

As a result a few characters who were side characters and only brushed on will become even more pronounced in this new round of edits. Character's who I thought I had sketched out well enough will have even more depth to them. Of course, I hope I can write them as well as I now picture them. It's like they are living breathing people, in my head.

No, I'm not insane, just a writer.

Your Turn -> Have you ever realized that you were doing something wrong with your editing process?

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