So how’s my novel coming? I’m glad you asked. Even if you didn’t. But it’s my blog, so I can rhetorically put words in your mouths. Nyeah!
It’s coming. I’m still in the planning stage, but I’ve reached the outlining stage. After having read Million Dollar Outlines, by David Farland, I picked up some ideas on how to outline better, and I do believe it’s working. My previous novel had very few sub-plots, and few of those had any real development or resolution. In that regard this novel will mark a significant improvment. I’ve got so many sub-plots going on that there will be very little room for wasted words. I suspect that will be a good thing.
I still need to work my characters over, though. I suspect I still don’t have the hang of characterization yet. Farland gave me a few ideas on that, but I’m also working my way through what Orson Scott Card has to say on the matter in his book, Characters & Viewpoint. Not that I’m making quick progress there. As you can see off to the right, I’m currently reading four books. One’s an audio book, and one I’m reading to my kids, but that still leaves two others–one of which is a hefty read.
I’ve been working on preparations for this novel for around four months now, and though my enthusiasm has waxed and waned, I still want to write it. That’s probably a good sign, considering that this is the boring part. The real question will be whether or not I’ve prepared enough. I purposely tried to give myself “world-builders’ disease” this time around to see if I could figure out where the upper boundary is on how much preparation is needed, but I suspect I still haven’t gone far enough. Granted I’m not trying to write a massive epic like The Wheel of Time, but I am trying to write something that will fit within a larger context. I’m not sure I have enough planned out to really communicate that larger weight of story beneath the surface.
But I realize if I don’t get to writing this soon I could lose interest altogether. I don’t want that. I’m confident I’ve got a much thicker, richer story to work with than I did even with the second draft of my last novel, so even if I write this new novel with the intent of helping identify things I still need to plan out more I’ll still be ahead of the game. I’m improving, and that’s the important thing. But it’s hard to show improvement without a draft to prove it. It’s time to start writing soon.