adventures in outlining

So, as I described earlier, I took the unprecedented step of outlining the story I’ve been working on. I’m not a convert to outlining for everything, but it was the right thing for this particular project.

Here’s what I discovered:

1) The story didn’t have enough conflict or suspense. It could have been an interesting story, but as a mystery it sucked. I was trying to solve that by moving the time sequence around, but the stakes still weren’t high enough for a whole story.

2) Wow, did it have a lot of characters who had a lot of backstory — backstory that the reader would have had to know in order to understand what was going on. I’m really trying to write stories these days where new readers can jump on.

3) I had the idea that this was the story where Jan Sleet and her mother would “reconcile,” but in looking at the story it was pretty clear that their relationship doesn’t really change at all.

4) And, in terms of that “reconciliation,” I realized that they don’t actually need or want to “reconcile.” They’re perfectly happy the way they are — odd as that might seem. They made that very clear to me.

And, nothing to do with outlining, I liked this: “Facebook in the 1500s.” Because, of course, the internet and the web and social media and so on have ushered in a completely new era in human social interaction. 🙂

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