Okay, finally, the first draft of Jaysan and the Jazz Monkeys is done. It weighs in at 82, 865 words and is a mess. I’ve been studying up on outlining methods and even came up with my most comprehensive pre-outline I’ve ever done for a story. I still couldn’t stick with it and ended up far away most of the time. The theory of outlining is that it will save time in the rewrites, which is mainly why I want to get one to work. I’ve about reached the conclusion, though, that I am still too much of a discovery writer (pantser).
Now, I’m no rookie. If my count is correct, this was the 18th first draft I’ve done (though several of those will never see the light of day). That is a total of a million and a half words just on first drafts. If you count all the second, third, fourth, etc. drafts, I’ve got a lot more than that under my belt. And they say the first million words are practice. Well, I should have enough practice, then why can’t I stay with my outlines?
I’ve been reading some other outlining stuff lately, and it kept advocating that while brainstorming, you shouldn’t think linearly. Well, no matter how hard I try, I can’t NOT think linearly. I’ve come to the conclusion that my first draft IS my brainstorm session. I do still need some kind of outline so that I have an idea how the story will eventually end. That is one thing that still helped me during this last story, even though I wandered all over the place in the middle. But now I have a decent idea of what needs to be fixed, what works, what doesn’t work, and what kinds of things that need to be added. I can also now jump around in the timeline and think of better things to do.
So, I guess the moral of this story is: everyone has their own methods. Don’t let someone else tell you what your method is, though you might have to do some trial and error to find it. For me, I first must have a set timeline that I figure out linearly. Once that is done, then I can skip around and rethink things better. I’ll keep working on my outlining, though, and maybe some day I’ll get so I can do one so well I won’t want to vary from it.