I’m working on my second book in the Morelville Mysteries series. Because I only have a base concept and some snippets in my head for the overall story, working from point A to B to C and so on has already proven a challenge. I decided I really need to buckle down and do an outline.
I hated outlining in high school. Does anyone really like creating one? Now, for lengthy non-fiction stuff it’s pretty much a necessity, but for fiction? Not so much. All you really need in fiction, especially for shorter stuff, is the main story line and a few defining moments. The story really should just flow. It always has for me…until I started working on novel length stuff, anyway!
I have an odd, part time, day job. I’m absolutely slammed with work every single Monday from the time I walk in the door until the time I leave about 4 1/2 hours later – if I get out of there on time. Tuesday’s are the complete and total opposite. I usually have about 40 minutes worth of work to do first thing in the morning, and then it’s quiet the rest of the day other than the need to serve the dozen or so odd people that might walk through the door with whatever it is that they need. The rest of the week gets busier as it goes but it never approaches the Monday scale of craziness. Wednesday through Friday I can usually eke out an hour to two hours to work on ‘stuff’.
This past week I hauled my laptop and my memory stick in with me all week so I could work on my outline and plug things in as they came to me.
Let me digress for a moment: You should always have at least two places where your latest work is. I write on my laptop and I back that work up immediately to a memory stick. I also put the text of most of my work into my Google Docs /Drive. Google doesn’t save all my formatting but, if I lose everything somehow, at least I have that hard worked text out there!
Anyway, my intent this week was to create a detailed outline while I was there and, if I had time, to get a little writing in too. I started off with the best of intentions but something happened along the way. I’d add something to the outline and I’d think, when I write this part, I want to say this or I want the characters to be in X place. Before I knew it, I was off and writing a scene and dialog – the whole nine yards – that had nothing to do with anything I already had written (the first two chapters). Right now, I have three fully fleshed out scenes from middle places in the book that I may never be able to use or, if I can, that I may have to seriously rework. They were great fun to write but not helpful in the grand scheme of things.
Does anyone else do this? Do you ever find yourself writing in the middle instead of writing a story from beginning to end? It’s certainly my first experience with writing fiction that way. Am I alone?