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Finished my novel…outline

October 28, 2012

I’ve had 70% of a working outline for my NaNo project for a few weeks, but I just finished sculpting the last few chapters, at least in broad strokes.  The map is drawn, my compass has a heading.  Insert your own cliched metaphor here.  And I’m kind of happy with it.

I’ve known for a while where I was going in a very broad, hand-waving sense.  Now I have a very concrete, hand-waving sense of it.  Next step is to give each of those chapters a point-by-point skeleton.  It’s the most over-wrought outline I’ve ever made, yet I still get to fill in a lot with the writing.

Let’s do a little math here. I currently have 35 chapters planned and most of those should come in around 2-3k words, a few I suspect scraping as much as 5k, so let’s set the average to 3000.  3000 x 35 = 105,000 words.  Ahem.  Yeah, that won’t be finished by the end of November.  And that will be a tough first-novel sale, though it doesn’t seem impossible.  However, I’m (somewhat of a) realist; not all those words will survive the editing apocalypse.  I’m anticipating 95k when the red ink settles, though don’t tie me to that.  I’m giving myself as much permission as possible to expound, be verbose, describe, and generally write like a novelist and not a short story writer.  At the same time, the story is being told through five PoV characters, so each is getting his/her own novella, only diced up and spread through the book chronologically along with the others.  And once characters come together, the story lines bleed into one another.  It is an ambitious project, but I am an ambitious guy I’d like to be an ambitious guy.

There is almost no doubt that the outline will change as I write.  I am comfortable with that and I look forward to it.  And as for the character that I created for a specific purpose but never quite put into the outline…well, she may make a brief appearance and a bloody exit if I truly need her for what I designed her to do.  I’m hoping to just write her out.  There will be enough unpleasant character death as the outline stands, though not quite GRRM standards.

I’m setting myself a moderately soft deadline of Jan. 31 to finish the entirety of the draft.  I really wanted to draw the line at Jan. 1, but there’s way too much happening in December (state tests, end of semester, bitty birthday, X-mas, etc.) to believe in that.  Though I confess, it would be great to have the whole thing submission-ready before ChattaCon (Jan. 25-27).  But finished draft is not submission ready.  But perhaps that makes a better draft deadline…

Anyway, I’m looking at about 72 hours and counting before I can start tapping out prose.  NaNoWriMo, here I come.

Oh yeah, I have three days of work first.  :-/

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