I will outline. Even if it’s in the form of thought bubbles across the page, interconnecting with one another along the way until I manage to figure out all the points between A and Z. What I will keep in mind is that I don’t need to stick to the road map I draw…but it will be something I can reference to help me get there. I can’t stick to an outline, but at least having these notions in front of me, I might be able to crawl along and figure things out. I swear, the main idea of this novel was to take place in a setting that I have JUST arrived at…after 35,000 words I managed to get the 3 characters to the main setting of the novel. That, my friends, is a problem. That’s a key sign that pantsing, in this particular instance, is NOT working for me.
I’m willing to give this outlining thing another try. I’m hopelessly hopeless at following them, but I need something! Putting this in terms of a play—something that works extremely well for my pantsing techniques—my characters would still be behind the screen arguing about whose turn it is to take the stage. They would be back there bitching and moaning and the seats would be filled. But the stage would be in darkness and the audience would be able to hear every single word my characters say. That is not the way to do things. That is more than horrible, it’s unacceptable. The audience should NEVER hear the rumbling that gets the characters to the stage. The story should start right away, and never stop moving forward. I have so miserably failed this time that I’m considering getting rid of the pants altogether.
Time to sit down and take a trip through the concept I originally grasped when I sat down to write my Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. This time, though, there will be no horn honking to tell me when to start. There will be no distractions and there will be no pressure. It’ll be just me, a piece of paper, and my thoughts. Here’s hoping this outline thing finally pays off!
What about you. Pantser? Outliner (Plotter)? Or a perfect mix of both?