Week seven: Outline like water

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Week seven is finished, and instead of going utterly insane, I’ve reached the 79k words mark. More than I’d ever dreamed I might get. But instead of the words feeling cheap because of the amount of them I vomit each and every day, I feel like I’m getting to be more in touch with my story. More so than in the past.

This is great for keeping it going, for remembering where I am in the story, and what should happen next. But, there’s one ‘downside’ too. Albeit one that is easily fixed.

As an outliner, I prepare my story beforehand, to make certain I keep following a certain path. It also imprints the story in my mind, but, will also cause me to detect mistakes easier. In this case, I wanted to end the story at Diane’s (one of the MC’s) hometown. Making it get taken over by the rival empire. But, this forced the story to move from Pinnacle, the city and main focal point of the story, towards a smaller town, and a lot less interesting town either.

Feeling like this did not translate well to the page, and would feel arbitrary and forced, I decided to change that. Instead, the climax, and the attack, will happen inside of the city, tying all three story threads together in a much better, and much more satisfactory way.

This caused me to think about the entire outlining process, coupled with how I acted towards the outline in the past, when I hadn’t yet created this writing habit.

In the past, the outline was like gospel to me. Truth, something that had to be followed, to be deconstructed only when editing. Even though I knew something was wrong, I didn’t allow myself to think of solutions for those problems. The outline was carved into a rock back then.

Now though, it doesn’t feel like a waste of time to change my outline. Instead, it feels necessary, and I’ve learnt that I only reached the point of understanding where my story needed to end because I’ve written the words before it.

In short, nothing you write is ever for naught. Every word, every sentence, will make you understand your stories better. Will make you better at writing itself. And the more ‘failed’ words you pile on, the more of your words that will be successful.

So that’s it for this week. As a goal for next week, I’ll try to hit the 95k mark, but it’s kind of a busy week, so we’ll see where we get.

Anyhow, thanks for reading, and see you next week.

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Nick Franck

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