And So It Begins: Novel #6

Back in February 2019, I posted about starting to write Novel #5.  I had just finished the outline at that point and was ready to dive into Chapter 1.

18 months later, I'm at that same point now for Novel #6 - yahoo!

The writing process for me starts usually starts with years of subconscious meanderings followed by some months of writing the outline.  When I say outline, believe me, it's not a thing of beauty with Roman numerals, elegant indents and lots of white space.  It's a humble, ugly, highly detailed document which attempts to lay out what will happen in each chapter, filled with more fragments than complete sentences, some scraps of dialogue, maybe a few full paragraphs of narrative.  Sometimes, an entire scene or even a full-fledged chapter comes to me at that stage so insistently it cannot be denied.  But mostly it's a rough grab bag of random coal waiting to be squeezed into diamonds.

I say "attempts to lay out what will happen" because the story always changes course once I get into the actual writing of it.  Characters assert themselves, new characters arrive out of nowhere or necessity, minor details become major, overlooked plot points appear in a terrifying blaze of glory like avenging angels, awkward corners I've painted myself into must be escaped from, redesigned or demolished.  So the outline is a living, breathing document that invariably changes.  And that's okay!  That's how it works.  For me.

Once I'm happy with the outline, I begin a blank word document with the title page and then paste in the outline excerpt for each chapter on its new page.  My actual text will be industry standard Times New Roman size 12, double-spaced.  To clearly delineate the outline stuff from the Real Stuff, the former is often single-spaced, a different color, a smaller font size, maybe even a different font.  Not pretty, but it works for me.  As the Real Stuff appears on the page to address that bit of the outline, I delete that outline text from the novel document.

I didn't learn this anywhere, just started doing it over the years.  Common sense.  No doubt lots of other writers do something similar.

Anyhow, the point of all this is to document that I've Started Writing Novel #6!  With the outline carefully poured into the nooks and crannies of 20+ chapters (a number which will most definitely grow), the word count starts off at 5,289.  94,711 to go!


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