marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

outlines into prose

So, I got up to 5100 three days into NaNoWriMo.  A tenth of the month, a tenth of the words -- that's good.

What's not so good is that it's only a twentieth of the outline.

I write the most awful, ramshackle outlines known to man.  Not only handwritten -- in my handwriting, which is to say it looks like a chicken walked through ink and then over the paper, and a drunk chicken at that -- but just a sequence of events.  I number 'em so that I can make notes about stuff to be interpolated, but the events are not some kind of scene.  Well, sometimes they are, but sometimes I split up a scene into several numbers.  Especially when I'm describing dialog, which can get awfully detailed at high moments.  (C. J. Cherryh's practice is to write an outline, then a more detailed one, then a more detailed one. . . until she writes dialog which is her first draft.  I couldn't use that because I have been known to put dialog in the very first outline.)

Nevertheless, the outline roughly but accurately predicts how much text comes out in the first draft.  If I've written a quarter of the outline and have 10,000 words, odds are that the first draft will be 40,000 and unpublishable owing to its length alone.


Picking up the pace would be better than trying to work after the month; the month has a psychological effect not to be sneered at.  I shall have to try.
Tags: dialog, grumbles, outlining, story length, writing

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