Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Discovery Writing and Outlining

I’m a discovery writer, of sorts.  Actually, I suppose I’m more of a hybrid writer.  A writer who has ideas of what needs to happen, and then discovery writes to get there.  I wasn't always this way, for the most part, I used to be a pure discovery writer.  However, when you're working with an epically long book series, you just can't write fast enough.  I have plot points coming out of my ears for books I haven't even started to pull together.  But I know what's going to happen, and it's exciting.

So I guess this makes me an outliner.  But I don't want to be an outliner.  I like to discovery write, so I think I'll call myself hybrid discovery writer.  Now, that sounds nice.

But I digress, let me back up.  When I first wrote Book II (it’s now at around 90k words), I was firmly in the discovery writing phase.  Oh, I had ideas of where the book needed to go, but I had no idea how I was going to get there.  Anyway, because of this, Book II is full of holes.  When you're writing a series in discovery writing mode, it's incredibly difficult to just write and get it down in the first pass.  As a matter of fact, it's downright impossible.

There are subplots and themes that need to be fully supported, ideas that you come up with later but need to go back and put in earlier.  And so I make an outline after the first draft is written.  This way I can find the holes, places that need to be fleshed out, and plot points that need to be built up to better.  It's kind of fun, but it also can be a painfully long process.

Doing this for Analindë (Book I), was tedious.  I'm hoping the process for Book II will go a lot more smoothly. 

Almost one year ago I was in Beijing, visiting a friend.  While she was at work, I stayed in her apartment and outlined Analindë, then at night we went out and explored the city together.  I also did a rough outline of Book II in the series, but my focus at the time was to get Book I going again.

Analindë will soon go to print, and just last night I finished redoing the outline for Book II. It's exciting, I'm looking forward to reworking the story, but I'm a little discouraged at the same time.  It's almost been a year since I last worked on Book II, and I realize yet again how fleeting time really is.

Thankfully I'm still on leave at the moment, and have time to charge forward with my revisions.  The goal is to work quickly and then move on to Book III.  We'll see how I fare.

In other news, I've almost finished tweaking the design of my website.  I hope you like the changes.  The cover art for Analindë is coming along nicely. My illustrator (Bryan Beus) and I have just reviewed the photos from the shoot held last Saturday and he’s moving forward to start the final sketches for the cover.  I'm really pleased with the model that we used, she makes a great Analindë.

- Melissa

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