Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Identity Crisis

Not me, my book. Yes, I'm still struggling with Colonel Fitzwilliam's story. However, I think I finally figured out why.

I have a very precise method I follow when writing. After I get a new idea, I spend about a month fleshing it out in a very detailed outline. I'm talking scene by scene, who will be there, what important props are used--the works. Then I write the draft in a month of madness known as NaNoWriMo. I take December off and let the draft sit, then I come back to it and begin editing.

I didn't follow that pattern this time around, and I'm paying for it. As has been pointed out, I was a bit busy in the weeks leading up to NaNo this year, so I didn't take the time to outline. I spent the first three days of November trying to shove all the ideas I had about my story into a haphazard storyboard, but that shoddy piece of work fell about around the 10th. I sort of managed to figure out what I wanted to do then and restructured my story... but thanks to the lack of direction at the start, I have several dangling plot lines that no longer belong, and no real awareness of what should stay and what should be cut or moved to a different part of the timeline.

It's time for me to go back to the drawing board. This morning, I'll pull out my trusty copy of Book in a Month and follow that step-by-step outline. I won't skip worksheets, I won't leave anything undone. I have to figure out what my story is before I can figure out how to fix it.

I think I've known from the start that this is what I needed to do. I tried to find other ways to fix the problem, because this is going to take quite a bit of time. I hope to finish the outline by the end of this week, and then I'll need another three weeks or so to go through and move things around. I really don't think this book is going to be ready to publish in September like I wanted, and that disappoints me.

However, it's more important to end up with a book I can be proud of than to end exactly on time. I do hope I can manage to get it published before November though, because I seriously never want to do that craziness again.

Wish me luck!