A writing workshop I attended oh, so long ago, talked about process in terms of structured vs. organic. Basically, the theory goes, a writer can approach a piece, outline in hand, or can just write freely until the story constructs itself.

In reality, I’m not finding it as neat as all that. When I first started writing, I tried to use an outline, found that it killed my enthusiasm for the project, then swore off of them altogether. Writing organically, though, resulted in a gigantic mess and a lot of wasted effort to produce even the smallest thing. APD was written organically in the first draft, then finished according to an outline that was loose enough to accommodate ideas that came to light in the course of writing the subsequent drafts. But I still ended up tossing more than 50% of the MS four different times.

The current project was outlined to within an inch of its life. But that outline, all twenty or so pages of it, provided a daunting roadmap. What’s more, I didn’t like the story once I had it down. The good part was, of course, that if you don’t like the story, it’s a lot easier to rewrite 20 pages of outline than 400 pages of text. Still.

To get the story out of my head and into pixels, I attempted to write the major plot as a short story of 20K or less. I did this. Of course, then I realized that this story is only the first third of the actual story. I toyed with the idea of three novellas, but worried that once I had one finished and subbed, I would lose enthusiasm for writing the other two. Subplots were rearing their heads throughout, and I realized that there was a three-part novel in the works.

I have arcs written for all of the principals, but as to how they’re to get where they need to go from here, I’ve no flippin’ clue.

Published by jfaraday

Jess Faraday is an award-winning author of historical suspense.

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