In his memoir, On Writing, Steven King compares writing a story to digging up a fossil. It starts with the simple discovery that something is there, thought at this point you have little clue what it is (or will be). As you keep digging, working draft through draft, you discover more and more and the story, and the fossil begins to take shape.
With the first draft of the novel done, I saw some of the initial characteristics of characters, setting, story-line, etc. surfacing. Let’s call it that first very faint outlines of a skeleton. However, the vast majority was still hidden beneath. It may seem simple enough to dig up a fossil but it’s delicate, tedious work. Words don’t dig themselves up and sometimes don’t come willingly.
So, I decided to go old school and find out if they still sold flash cards. Spoiler alter – they do and they are as useful as ever.
I was able to take the behemoth first draft of Around Curiosity’s Edge and break it down into a “loose” outline. This allowed me to uncover the skeleton of the story and let me say, it felt really good to do this. Once you get over 50,000 words in a Microsoft Word document its a lot (my scrivener is having a issues so I’m stuck using Word at the moment). I say loose outlines because I’ve broken out parts and chapter and major milestones for story progression, while leaving plenty of room for more discoveries and adjustments along the way.
Update conclusion — It was a blast to outline the story and watch it put itself together. I feel like more of a facilitator than anything else. This is a such a learning process and there is no right way to do anything – though there are plenty of wrong ones! 😉
Hoping to have the outline more or less fixed for end of week so draft two can get underway for beta reader release at the end of November!