Yeah, well it does.
You’re totally confused, I can see that.
As was I when I started doing my story outline, but now I gotten into the grove of it and it works fine. Mind you my biggest problem wasn’t outlining, but what to do after I outlined. I always felt that writing an outline was like writing am purposely incomplete draft, which meant I would have to do it all over again in a real first draft anyway. And besides it clashed with my concept of what artistic creation should be, something born in the moment out of a spark of inspiration.
But when your sparks come the way of the cranial equivalent of sticking a meta fork into a toaster, you need a Plan B.
Enter the outline.
And a realization of what an outline really is.
It shows you where you are and where you been, which makes it easy to keep track of a lot of elements that, when invented on the fly can be easily forgotten, even though the are crucial to the plot, if only for consistency sake.
And I’m all about consistency (as readers of this blog bloody well know!)
Ahem, moving on….
Little things like names. You know the names of things, characters and locations. I have to admit that it is beyond frustrating (and a little more embarrassing to boot) paging through dozens if not hundreds of pages of written text just to extract a name of a key character which for the love of me (and I do love myself very, very much) I completely forgotten.
I also realized that like a map, it only shows you the general route, but it is not the same as traveling it. So while you may know the location of X on a map, it is not the same as being in front of X and seeing it for what it is. The same thing with an outline/draft. The outline is the map, telling you where X is, the draft is (insert writer’s name here) looking at said location, interacting with it and generally experiencing it.
Now, I don’t know if I will abandon free-style discovery writing. I doubt it. But is something that I will seriously consider whipping out from the toolbox when dealing with ambitious projects such as the current WIP.
Because sometimes you do have to stop and ask for directions.
A peppy vocal trance song to lighten the mood. Enjoy!