Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Slicing Up My Outline

Last night I made a lot of progress in my zombie book for the Library of the Living Dead Press called Living Dead Boy.

I felt good about seeing the end of the book in sight at last. It's been rough writing with all the insanity the first part of this year brought to the table (though I'm not complaining). A lot of the changes taking place this year have been very positive, but it feels like my time has just been gobbled up left and right. Finding time to write when I'm not completely mentally and physically exhausted has not been easy. The fact I got TWO chapters done this holiday weekend was a huge relief. Also, the flow was amazing and felt so good.
I loosely outlined the last six chapters of the book after I finished writing the latest chapter. I basically tried to lay out (in order) the scenes I had in mind for the rest of the book. I am an organic writer, which means I write by the seat of my pants, so I don't always know how everything will connect up. I usually go into a novel with the main character in mind, how the story starts, bits and pieces in the middle, and sometimes (but rarely) the end.
The outline also felt solid until I slid into bed and turned off the light. Suddenly, my mind was ticking through the plot points."This doesn't fit.""This doesn't make sense.""This should happen instead of that.""This character should have this happen, not that."It was like watching a movie and seeing alternate scenes being spliced in.
One of the scenes I wanted to write, but has never "sat" just right in the storyline, hit the mental scrap heap last night when I realized it would completely shift the story away from our main protagonist and reduce his heroic role. I admitted that the reason I wanted to shove that scene into the story was because it made a cool action sequence, but came across as a plot device.
So I hit the eject button on the scene, felt the plot shift in my head, and just like that, a new scene, much cooler than the original, slid into reality.Now the book has a slightly different ending and it retains the heroic role of the lead character. It also adds more of an emotional wallop by keeping the focus on the character previously established, instead of bringing in a minor character to steal his thunde
Things are feeling very solid with the book. Hopefully, I will have this first draft done soon so I can start the revision process.


  1. Yay! Outlines do change over time, and it's funny (though frustrating) when you really like a scene but then realize it totally doesn't fit. I had that happen last weekend -- I spent 3 hours or so on this one chapter, only to realize when it was all done that something that happened earlier would have contradicted it -- I had to scrap the whole thing!! But then I replaced it with a scene that I totally fell in love with so it's all good :-)

  2. Congrats on nearing the end of the book. It's a great feeling. I finsihed mine up last weekend and am gettng ready to look for a publisher. Good luck with it.


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