I confess, I didn’t use to write from outlines. Once I knew how a story ended, it killed my interest in the project. That changed with Stormcaller, and I think I write better because of it. Less rambling, more consistency. I tried to wing it with The Praetorian Agenda and fell flat on my face. Cranking out 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo felt like a chore, like actual work, because I didn’t know where the story wanted to go.
I took a break after November, partially to work on some short-term contract assignments, but also to brainstorm how the hell the novel was going to turn out. Thankfully, I have a remarkably erudite compadre, and between the two of us—and a massive omelet at The Hurricane—we hashed out some solid motivations and plot ideas.
Of course, that’s not enough. Plotting is a lot like making booze. You gather the ingredients, you put them together, and then you let it all ferment. The result is way cooler than what you started with, and enough of it can make your head spin.
Happily, I can report that I have an outline that I’m happy with. August needed to be better at his job this time around—he couldn’t be the lucky screw-up that tore up Tacoma in Antigone’s Fall. Of course, that means I have to be a better writer. My villains must want things that seem plausible, achievable, and worth stopping—and it would help if they look clever as hell.
I’m in the midst of ripping up the material I already wrote, but I’m not discouraged. I’m curious to see how it will read when its finally finished. Of course, I’m in the midst of moving to Japan, so no guarantees on speed. I’ll do my best, though.
Preferably before the geopolitical landscape irrevocably shifts in the Persian Gulf…