When I first “outlined” Lindorm (on a few hundred digital 3×5 cards) I kept throwing in story-inside-of-story “options” (a la Scheherazade in Arabian Nights) worried that I might not make word count.
Yes, I find this funny now. (For those outside the know, high wordcount has been a sticking point for me on my first novel).
Then I proceeded to write the “interesting” scenes first, starting with a physical transformation (the stepmother is turned into a lindorm in my favorite scene that never made it into the book), then going back to the beginning and telling the story through the paces of the original folktale. Any time I got “stuck” I just jumped to the next scene where I knew what should/did happen.
I was just “Making time.”
I don’t remember how far I was through the month when I realized not only could this story “make” 50,000 words, they wouldn’t be near enough.
I completed an outline a few nights ago. I didn’t even type the words The End and I felt the air go out of me, as though– in a twist worthy of the most sadistic author– the clarity/direction I needed (to have the energy to move forward) told enough of the story that my need to get it out was satisfied.
And I still have 42,744 words to go.
Two days ago, making the outline left me a bit behind, so last night I needed my 2000+ words to get back on-track. I was not inspired, but I knew I needed to get my climax figured out (my current Achilles’ heel) so I sat down and wrote the stuff that makes up my climax.
It’s still not really clear exactly where the climax falls, but there are several pockets of action closely tied to it. I wrote on 4 separate pockets, and accumulated over 2400 words yesterday.
At first I didn’t believe it and had to re-check what I’d written, because I didn’t feel all that inspired or that I done that much, then I realized I did roughly 1 ½ to 2 pages for each, and this is how it adds up.
So now I’m all inspired, because from the opener to the (ostensible) ending in my outline, I’ve got about 60 to-do items. And that’s not cross-referencing the stack of physical 3×5 cards I’ve collected to bleed off story pressure.
I really do want to spend more time writing than planning, so I was only willing to sacrifice one night to the process.
It’s not romantic, but it is mathematical. And for me at least, security is the first prerequisite to love.