Daily Writing Check-in: February 4, 2019

Words/Time: 34 minutes working on my new list of long-term goals:

1. Outline “Outcast” – I have the very basic skeleton of a plot, but it needs to be outlined anew. This is going to be more than just sitting down and creating an outline, but doing some brainstorming and free writing along the way. Maybe even some character chats. It’s going to take letting go of a story that was my absolute favorite for many years. I’m not even sure when it slipped out of being my favorite, but it probably has something to do with the fact that the fanfiction it was originally written as is so far in the past, and the world I have created is so much more interesting to me now.  It’s going to be difficult and time-consuming, but it needs to be done.

2. Outline “Unexpectedly” – I have a lot less of a plot in mind for this story, but I think it will be easier to outline than Outcast, because there’s not as much there to start with—not as much that needs broken down and rebuilt. While considering where this book could go, I’ve already hit on some new ideas that I’m really excited about.

3. Re-outline “The Seeger Book” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2015. It was the 2nd book I wrote that month, and came in at 43,672 words. It is a murder-mystery, and only the 2nd one I have ever attempted (the 1st murder-mystery I ever wrote was earlier that month, and it really fell flat). It needs some overhauling and almost an entire mid-section, because I jumped from somewhere in the middle to the climax when the end of the month neared and I realized I was out of time to figure out the rest of the plot. I also think I need to re-think the suspects, clues, etc. of the mystery aspect.

4. Re-outline “Vin” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2017. I spent the month before first realizing that this was the story to write that year, then figuring out what on earth this story was going to be about, exactly. I went back and forth on who the protagonist was, who the main character was, and most of all, learning the true motivations behind the title character. In the end, I wrote 69,878 words, but a good majority of it was just the characters telling each other stories about what happened in the past to get them to this place. It was fun and easy for word count, but not exactly a great plot. The plot was weak to start with though, so it needs some more work.

5. Re-outline “Protector” – This is last on the list because I anticipate it needing the least work. It still needs plenty, but it’s got a good starting point. I wrote this for last year’s NaNoWriMo, and it started out as a pure romance, just something fluffy to get me back into writing, since I’d been absent from it (minus NaNoWriMo months) for a few years. But by the end, it had turned into something much more important. However, for it to take its place amongst the other Pithea books, it needs a focus change, because the first half is not driving it toward the 2nd half well enough. So I will re-outline the entire thing with this new plan in mind.

Last time I posted my writing goals, they were short-term goals just to get some necessary, but overall quick work done. This new list is going to take quite a bit longer. Where the last list took about 2 months, I anticipate this one driving my writing work for much of the year. I hope to have #1 done in time for the 1st Camp NaNo session, so I can at least consider writing the first draft of “Outcast” during that month. After that, we’ll see how things progress before I start thinking of what I might be ready to do for the 2nd Camp NaNo this year. Another possibility is that “Outcast” or “Unexpectedly” will be my main NaNoWriMo project this November.

Anyway, back to the list. All of these goals involve outlining. A lot has changed in my plans for my stories in the last few years, and I think no matter what order I write the rest of these stories in, I need to have a decent idea of what’s going to happen in the others to avoid major trouble down the road. I know that outlines aren’t set in stone. I often go far off my outline while writing. But at least if I have outlined these remaining stories, I will have a much better idea of what’s going to happen.

Besides, none of this involves just writing an outline. Even though #1 is the only one that specifically mentions this, outlining on this level is always going to involve first freewriting, brainstorming, talking to characters, asking myself questions to get past plot holes, etc. I should have a pretty good idea of where these stories are headed by the time I’m done.

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