Been working on the novel. Resetting to match Larry Brook’s outlining

I’m at 33 k, and I went back and fixed it to remove 5 additional characters who were clogging up the works. That took some time, but there was no reason to haul around two entire fireteams of marines, so I killed off a fireteam and offed two of the shuttle crew while I was doing that. Overall, I changed a few hundred words.

I also wrote 1500 words yesterday. I will need to rewrite the scene for conflict.

Today I’ve broken down all the scenes I have so far. I have 32 scenes (so far). They average 1047 words each. In an 80,000 word novel, I’m 40% of the way through. A review of the scenes shows that some are information only, no conflict, and will need a rewrite to introduce goal/conflict in each scene.

So I’ll take what exists and rewrite the scenes for conflict. Extend them to create more uniform length. Shortest scene: 47 words. Longest scene: 3800 words. The rewrites will fix the pacing and structure. I can see that my structure, in order to sit correctly in the Larry Brooks sense of things, needs to have that first plot point somewhere between words 16000-20000.  That is not correctly set right now, which will be fixed by controlling the scenes and length.

I’ll also plot out the rest of the scenes, so that each scene has conflict/goal, each scene accomplishes what it’s supposed to accomplish for that part of the book, and it all comes together with precision.

I see the only problem with having the structure be so defined is that someone who knows structure will be noting the important points while reading their kindle, since it tells you percentage-wise where you are in the book if you choose that information (or tells you location, or how many minutes are left in the book).  That’s thrown off if there’s a hook chapter at the end of the book so you get sucked in to the sequel – your 25% plot point might be more at 23%, so it looks like it’s early when it’s not. But… if people want to see the underlying structure, fine, so be it. I want it to be obvious that we’re hitting the plot points when we should and that all is right in the universe, writing-wise.  Those who hate structure and don’t care, that’s fine, they can ignore it and just enjoy the book, which will seem awesome for some strange reason they don’t understand, like the fact the plot is structured perfectly. 😀



The torment and anguish: Outlining Abomination

Look, I don’t like outlining. I just don’t. This does not make sense, considering my soul’s desperate desire for order. You’d think that order = not chaos, and chaos = not outlining, therefore order = outlining. Somewhere in that logic sequence is a flawed statement, but I don’t know where. In the meantime, I read stuff on other blogs that sounds vaguely like this:

Hey there, everyone. I used to type only 150 words a day, and my novel was taking FOREVER. But then I learned how to outline and now, with only five minutes of outlining a day, I now type 9000 words a day, and have finished five books last month. You can learn to outline, too, with my free 7 FABULOUS TIPS TO NO-BRAINER AWESOME BEST-SELLER OUTLINING brochure, which I will send to you if you give me your email address.

Also, I rescued 10 kittens this morning and bought groceries for the poor family down the street.

For one, nobody likes you, if you’re this person. We’re all supremely envious (not jealous) of your 9000 words a day. Secondly, we don’t believe you, unless you start pumping out titles three times a month and they’re good. Thirdly, nobody likes outlining, do they? Do they?! Fourthly, nobody rescues 10 kittens. Maybe 1 or 2 kittens, but never 10. Those things are too wild to catch. So that’s another thing we don’t believe. And the groceries thing? Fah. Maybe you did. But anyone can buy food for others in need, so that’s not a big deal.  We’re all still envious of the whole 9k a day.

Back to this grindstone of this one particular task. Obviously, I can write, as you can see from this awesome example you’re looking at with your peepers right now. How awesome is this prose? That awesome. And there’s no tyops, like you might get on an Amazon book which hasn’t been complained about yet. (Note to you jealous authors: See a book written by a competitor that has a typo or badly formatted table or picture? You can help the Amazon Book Gestapo by reporting them. “Vee haff ways of making you punctuate,” they say. Chris McMullin asks some questions and clarifies the issue. It’s interesting, in the least.) Maybe MJ is frowning at the informalness of it all, but she’s an editor and they’re supposed to frown. Though the latest post with the blonde in the boots did not get my attention for prurient reasons or anything. I read it for the post!

Not so obviously, I don’t seem to be able to outline to save my life, or my book. Perhaps it’s because I’m not original in my thinking. “That’s okay, Matt, I took my last plot and ripped it from Homer,” you say. That’s cool, except my current plot does not look remotely like Homer. I say plot, what I really mean is half-plot, since the back half of it isn’t written yet. It’s not outlined. Because I didn’t rip it from Homer.

That’s because I like to claim I’m organic and all that. As if that’s something to be proud of. “Stephen King doesn’t outline,” you drone at me. So what? Everyone else is outlining. Not only that, but they like it. And then they tell me on their blogs how much they like it.

I think I just need to get the 7 steps brochure, suck it up, and do the outlining. Developmental editing seems so much easier when it’s not for you.

PS: Yes, I’m avoiding outlining by writing about avoiding outlining. Clever, aren’t I?