Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Submitted for Your Approval.

Well, not your approval, exactly, but that of my writer's group. Last night I surrendered all that exists of my novel-in-progress, "Mother Sucker" (working title): six chapters and about 25K words. I'd been working on it since March, but when my turn came up to submit, I only had about three chapters, which was hardly worth it, so I switched slots with a friend whose novel was already completed and used the intervening time to jam out three more chapters.

Part of the problem, if not ALL of the problem, is that I'm working without an outline. I can see maybe one chapter ahead, but beyond that, I'm groping. I may just use the time while they're reading the first installment to rough something out. I was giving the "no outline" (or "blank page," as Carolyn Wheat, author of "How to Write Killer Fiction," calls it) approach after my last outline resulted in a 185K word book. Too much planning=too much writing. But now I'm hitting block after block because I can't see far enough ahead.

What's the consensus out there: outline or blank page?


Timothy Carter said...

Outlines are for suckers, man!

At least, that's the way I feel. I do my best writing without one. I jump into the writing, and inspiration comes while I'm doing it. I do plot some things - I take down lots of notes when things come to me, which give me a rough idea on where I'm going - but by and large my characters tell me what's going on.

Those are my two cents. Don't spend 'em all at once.

Bill Cokas said...

Man, you're brave! I bet you take a lot of road trips without a map!