Monday, August 11, 2008

One Leg at a Time No Longer

or, Oops, I'm doing it again.

I held off as long as I could, but frankly, I'm addicted. And it's time for the next fix.

I'm writing again.

This time, though, I'm not flying by the seat of my pants. I've got notes on the forces at work before the heroine shows up. As promised before, I've got my Golden Spine (also known as the premise or Story Question):

The loss of her brother forces Kera Slade to the one thing she swore she'd never do: return home. Can she find the truth about his death when two gangs of murderous thugs and a tough-as-nails sheriff all want to make sure the past stays buried?

I've even... I've even got an outline:

Those are my heroine's two plots (conscious goal and unconscious goal) and the main subplot on the left, Act climaxes and approximate word count along the line. Easy.

A new leaf? A strange experiment? The next 90 days will tell.

This time through, I'm writing 1000 words a day, and no internet access until I do. So far, so good.

I've even dusted off the trusty old Full Throttle Daily Wordcount-O-Meter.

At Day 3, we stand at 4200 words.


Angie said...

Good luck! I'll keep a set of virtual fingers crossed for you. :)

The only times I've ever actually outlined a novel, I've killed it completely. All my oomph was spent in the outline and the actual words wouldn't come. :/ I never even outlined papers at uni; I just pants everything. And hey, if you're getting As, then obviously it's working, right...? But ever since I lost a novel I'd thought was pretty cool, and had written 27 chapters of first draft on before getting the bright idea of backing up and outlining, I've been afraid to do it again. [laugh/flail] If it works for you, though, then great. Luck!


Steve Malley said...

Angie, I've killed one project b y outlining it to death, and I've killed one by riding the seat of my pants into an ugly and ungainly shambles.

My last effort pantsed in nicely-- after 250,000 deleted words and four false starts. This approach is certainly some kind of reaction.

Glamourpuss said...

Wow. Your self-discipline is admirable; I've been trying to write the book my agent thinks will make me a millionaire for nearly a year now. I have one paragraph. Sigh.


Lisa said...

A stellar start and a sturdy spine! I will be rooting you on from afar. Go Steve, go!

Angie said...

Steve -- I think that's the trick of it, though. There's no One True Way and every writer has to figure out what does and doesn't work for them. I'm still experimenting for the right method for me when it comes to something novel-length, since pantsing has never gotten me all the way to the end for something of that length and complexity, but a thorough outline didn't work either.

I definitely hope you've found your own perfect method. :)


Steve Malley said...

Glamourpuss, with all your trapeze and pole work, I do believe you can be excused. :)

Lisa, thanks. I'm sure I'll need your well-wishes by Act II!

Angie, I'm trying to more closely follow the way I draw and paint. ALl my art starts out with loose scribbles, so why not my writing? So far so good...

Bernita said...

Am seriously impressed.

Bernita said...

Envious, too.

Sphinx Ink said...

Congrats on trying the new method, Steve. I've always been a pantser at every writing project, whether for school (lo, many years ago), for work, or personal. Something in me rebels deeply at the prospect of outlining and planning my story ahead of time. Like Angie, if I outline it, I won't want to write it. Of course, I haven't finished any manuscripts yet, either, and some of my working-writer friends advise me it's because I didn't plan the story ahead of time. I'm interested to see the of your new preplanned WIP.

Shauna Roberts said...

Good luck! I'm thinking about planning my next book in more detail than I have in the past, so I'll be watching to see how it works for you.

Lana Gramlich said...

Write on. ;) Good that you're so motivated!

Tim Jones said...

I haven't tried diagramming my plots, but I think the no-Internet-access-until-1000-words-written plan is a good one. The logical consequence is, I need to log off and write another 1000 words (although I'm revising at the moment - not sure that lets me off the hook, though).

Steve Malley said...

Bernita, thanks. I just keep on moving.

Sphinx, I've pantsed my way through this thing often enough that I'm actually *nervous* about outlining!

Shauna, rest assured you'll be able to watch it all unfold on the blog...

Lana, motivated is one word for it. Probably a politer one than I would use... ;)

Tim, welcome! I think my little graph might come out of my visual arts-thing. SO far, the no-internet rule is working-- barely. Every morning my palms itch like crazy knowing, KNOWING that my email is unchecked! :)

cs harris said...

Sounds like a great, solid premise with lots of built-in conflict and great gut appeal. Bon voyage!

Miladysa said...


Go Steve Go!