Saturday, August 16, 2008

From Pantser to Outliner in 400 pages

So yes, it's August and yes I've been on a blog sabbatical. But I am pleased to report, I have in fact finished a manuscript. A lovely little rewrite that just about took everything out of me. Not a typical let's polish this up and make it pretty rewrite...oh no no no that would be much too easy. No this rewrite changed the characters, the plot, really it turned a mess of a book into a pretty good manuscript (fingers crossed). But in finishing this manuscript and also in working on my latest YA with a co-writer I've noticed a theme. I do better with an outline. And I loath outlines...hate them. Now I'm guessing that somewhere in my twisted psyche outlines are much like exercising or cleaning the bathroom...I know I need to do it, but I just don't want to. I rail against it every time...and yet once I accomplish the exercise or the bathroom cleaning...I am so much happier. And thus, I have made the transition or am working on making the transition from a 'pantser' to a grudging, grumbling, 'outliner.' Because I know it saves me time. It makes my writing better. It gives me a bit of a road map on where I'm going. And yes, I allow my outline to change, and yes, I find my characters doing things and saying things that make my outline obsolete, but that is okay. I don't necessarily have to go where the outline tells me, but there is something about that guide (especially in the ultra foggy middle of the manuscript) that keeps me moving along without having to write an additional 400 pages (yep 400 total in the last two manuscripts) that get highlighted and deleted.
xo Maggie

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