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No outline

If there's any through-line to the nonsense I wrote about on this blog, it's probably, "plan before you write."  If I'm not dispensing unsolicited (and frankly, unsubstantiated) advice about coming up with an outline, then I'm complaining that I've run into a brick wall because I can't figure out my story outline.  And if I'm not complaining that I've got problems, then I'm complaining that a movie or a book I've read has problems because they didn't come up with an outline.

So, um, I've started writing a new book without an outline.  Hmm.

For fear of spoiling the few unique twists I'm bringing to the plot, I won't describe it in too much detail just yet.  I'll just say that it's a horror/comedy about an apparent abduction that leaves the protagonist stranded in a hostile environment.  A bit of science-fiction in there, too.  Maybe if it turns into a tangible book I'll post more about it.

Starting this while I'm already past due on other projects is par for the course.  I've got like three irons in the fire, each of which has a substantial amount of work put into them and needs my attention before the summer's over.  And what do I do?  I go start something else.  But no, not just something else - something with no plan whatsoever.

I wish I could explain why I do this.

I wonder if it's a problem all creative types have.  Like, are there sculptors out there who start working on some new piece, and in their head they're like, "This is going to be a representation of poverty," but while the clay is still wet they stop and go, "Huh, what if I did a representation of the obesity epidemic instead?" and then they just push what they're working on into a corner?  Are there filmmakers out there who shoot three hours of footage for a short they're working on, and then halfway through they go, "Y'know what, that creepy warehouse over there looks fun.  I'll come back to this comedy after I make a horror."

The grief I have is so much worse specifically because I don't have a plan for the new book.  It would be one thing if I project hopped to something that I'd already thought out really well and is halfway complete already.  At least then I'd have a clear vision of where I'm going.

But, no.  This is just a premise I've had in the back of my head for about three or four years and out of the blue I said, "Huh, that might be fun.  Let's play with that."

I have to be honest - not having a grand vision or a plan ahead of time does add an element of fun to it.  There is a part of me that's thrilled by the exploration aspect, that sense of wonder and mystery.  Where's my story going?  Oooh, who knows!  It's exciting!  Weeeeeeeeee!

And I'll be thrilled by that right until I run headfirst into a wall and wonder how to get myself out of the hole I dug.  Sigh.

At least I'm having fun for now.  I'll be back in about three months for the lamentations.