Note: this is an annotated post. Follow the weird symbols to read my attempts at jokes, explanations, and lists of useful things.
It’s hard to imagine that almost a year has passed since I finished the first draft of King’s Bluff. I certainly never expected that preparation for the second draft would take a year. But God often reveals surprises around the bends of our life-paths.
For a period of time, I was too exhausted from a crazy amount of university coursework to even think about writing. As I relaxed*, two alpha-readers** read through my document and did a fantastic job tearing it to pieces for me. When I finally felt mostly human again, my Story Helper*** and I spent months brainstorming how to patch my torn up manuscript back together, fill in holes, and strengthen it.
During this brainstorming period, I also read a small whack of writing-craft books,**** researched§, and bought reference books§§. I now have a stack of index cards, a stack of reference books, and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. Yet it’s far too possible to spend one’s time reading about writing and never writing. So I’m leaving the coursework behind for now and re-embarking on fieldwork§§§.
In May, June, and July, I spent time organizing and re-outlining the new material from all those many brainstorming sessions§§§§. By the end, I had 102 scenes, over double my original 50!
Last night, I, at long last, began writing again. I now have a 1000 word, totally new, prologue under my belt. I am so glad to be back with my story and characters again. I am afraid, yet hopeful. Afraid that my craft will prove itself unable to handle some of the challenging twists that are now built into the tale. Afraid that busy-ness will stall my writing. Afraid that I’ll forget something/make more problems. But hopeful, hopeful because my God is faithful. Whatever happens is in His plan. He will work all for good, and so I step out, trusting that He will.
I’m off on a fresh adventure. Will you follow me…one last time?↨
*Read: ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, with small periods of collapsing.
**Jeremiah Stiles and Juliet Lauser.
****Revision and Self-Editing for Publication (James Scott Bell), Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint (Nancy Kress), Beginnings, Middles, and Ends (Kress), The Plot Whisperer (Martha Alderson), The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits (Linda N. Edelstein).
§ The Prince (Machiavelli).
§§ The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus (all Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi), and A Writer’s Guide to Characterization (Victoria Lynn Schmidt).
§§§ Sorry, pre-service elementary teacher-self manifesting itself there.
§§§§ Keep your eyes open for more “Outlining Your Novel: Zoe Style” posts to see the rest of the process!
↨ Brownie points for anyone who recognizes that references. (And no, it isn’t the last time. Can’t I have a little poetic license?)