Last week, I wrote a blog about my goal for National Novel Writing month: Write, edit, and publish a novella in November. I’m writing the next installment in my series about a pizza delivery guy who accidentally absorbs the essence of the god of pride and is forced to become a superhero, and five days into the process, book two is proving to be just as fun to write as the first was.
When the month kicked off, I was seriously worried that I might struggle to get everything done in time, but I’m finding, once again, that having a big-picture outline for my story is really helping to keep things moving at a good clip.
Some people can just sit down and start writing a story without knowing where it’s going. They have a real feel for story, and so they can mostly listen to their instincts in the first draft, and then clean up the rough edges when it comes time to edit. That’s never been me, though. When I’m in the thick of a draft, it’s hard for me to judge whether I need to spend a little more time in one phase of the story or another. I like to know what’s coming up next. Having that outline has always given me the confidence I need that, if I just sit down and flesh out what’s on the next bullet point, things will be going in the right direction.
All of my books actually follow the same basic outline, more or less. Whether it’s the romantic action story Alpha, the head-hopping chase thriller The Hunted, or the quest-horror The Cloud, there are a few basic plot points I try to hit throughout every book. Some people think of outlines like this as formulaic or restrictive, but to me, they work as really useful guides. They help me balance the pacing of my story.
And, once I’ve got an outline in place, it helps me write faster.
If I know what comes next, all I have to do is write that thing. It’s one less note of uncertainty to deal with.
The only work I did on this book before NaNoWriMo kicked off was to lay out a seven-point outline. Now I just sit down and turn each sentence of that outline into 2,000 to 3,000 words. So far, I’m right on pace. We’ll see if that keeps up.
Okay, back to The Crimson Ace. The goal for NaNoWriMo is 50,000, and since the project I’m working on will probably finish out at around 20,000 words, I’m counting these update blogs, newsletters I send out to subscribers, and anything else related to a book I’m working on. Here’s how I’m doing so far:
Crimson Ace: 7,805
This blog: 460