Alright, the cliche referred to in my last blog post has been corrected. The offending text has been surgically removed from the story and replaced with something superior that actually fulfills the role of building character considerably better. It’ll need a good bit of polish and cleaning up before I consider it “done” but it’s fixed nonetheless.
Speaking of which, I went back and touched up a few spots on the Outline for BookB. That’s right, it’s not a static document set it stone, along with revising the actual story text the outline is frequently revised.
I’ve spoken with a few other writers (and by spoken I mean in an IRC channel online) and they say they detest the entire idea of using an outline. That it sucks the very soul out of their writing, making something organic become mechanical.
I don’t know if I’m unique in my views on outlining, but I’ve never seen it that way. To me the outline is simply another organic piece of the whole, a skeleton if you will, waiting for the muscle, organs, and other tissue to build up around it. You can change that skeleton, provided you’re willing to rework everything else to fit it, which to me is what revision is all about.
My outline has become vastly different and incredibly detailed as part of this writing process, which admittedly I’m figuring out as I go along. Who knows, maybe my way is “broken”, it would certainly seem so if I ever listened to my English teachers (except Mr. Oliver, he was a different cat altogether). They seemed to think an outline was a concrete foundation upon which to build.
Well, if I have to stick to a construction metaphor to get through to them, then I’d have to point them in the direction of Howl’s Moving Castle, or Hogwarts moving staircases. Sometimes, to get where you want to go, you simply have to change the surrounding structure.
The replacement chapter written tonight actually combined a few elements I’d been trying to work in, but couldn’t wrap my head around until I’d gone back to the outline. Of course, this one structural change in the outline of the chapter means I’ll have to revisit some of the earlier sections and rework them, but that’s something to panic about another day. For now, I’ll just be content that this effort seems to have paid off.