Happy Halloween/NaNoWriMo Eve!
As you know, if you’ve been following my blog, for the past 6 weeks I’ve been testing out the Snowflake Method for outlining a Regency Romance novel that I plan to write for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read my earlier attempts, try 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
and 5. If you’d like more info on the Snowflake Method, go to Randy Ingermanson’s website here.
It’s the final week! Let’s talk about it!
Step 9: Expand your scene list into a narrative outline
Over the past week, I have expanded each one of my scenes from my scene list into a descriptive paragraph. Some were short; Some were long. Somehow, I managed to get them all done.
Randy Ingermanson usually ends up with a 50-page outline doing this and, no shock here, I ended up with 19-pages.
I told you I was an under-writer.
I’m glad that I didn’t end up with 50 pages though because, you guys, my outline is broken.
It’s not so broken that it can’t be fixed. I just don’t have time to fix it right now. NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow.
I want to be clear that I don’t think that this is a fault of the Snowflake Method. In fact, I actually think that the Snowflake Method is what helped me see the flaws before I started writing the first draft. I didn’t want to do this narrative outline step, but I think it was really useful.
I just didn’t give myself enough time.
One of the problems with my outline is that there is a character I introduce early on that disappears after the first act, but whose importance would have you believing that she would stick around for the whole story. This, I’m afraid, is a result of the fact that this book is technically a sequel to an earlier book that I wrote several years ago. I initially intended for the books to be two standalones in the same universe, but they’ve become more intertwined than that. And it has caused me problems.
That’s not the only problem with the outline. I’ve got a lot of scenes that feel repetitive to me, but I’m not sure how to fix it without slashing the book down until it’s too short to be called a novel. I can add new scenes, of course, but again, I’m short on time here.
It’s all very upsetting, given the many hours I’ve spent on this outline.
Yet, it’s not surprising. I haven’t mentioned this to you yet, but I am some weird combo between a pantser and a plotter, that cannot go without an outline yet can’t stick to an outline once I have one. It’s an all too familiar experience for me to have made this giant outline only to have to improv my way through the first draft when the time comes.
So, I guess what it all comes down to is this:
Yes, I think the Snowflake Method is a good method, and in the future I will probably use elements of it, if not the whole process. But I need to give myself more time to finish it in case I run into problems that need to be fixed again. It would be lovely to be able to completely redo the outline right now instead of trying to fix the problems during drafting.
I’m thinking at least 2 months. Maybe closer to 3. That may seem like a lot to some of you. Maybe not that much to others. But I really think that 3 months to outline would ensure that the drafting process is fast and smooth.
So, I’m done with Structure Saturdays for now. In the future, I may try another outlining method, though I haven’t decided for sure yet.
If you have any suggestions for methods for me to try, let me know in the comments!
I may also do a little update on the Snowflake Method once I finish my first draft, just to talk about how the outline affected my drafting process. I’m not sure about that though, as I’m not certain how far I may deviate from the outline. Should be interesting.
Next time we talk, we’ll be in the thick of NaNo. Remember to back up your work!
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