First off, congratulations to those of you who finished NaNoWriMo. That’s a great achievement. For those of you who did not finish, there is a wonderful consolation prize: You no longer have a deadline.
Back to outlining. And I’ve come up with a completely different storyline. Well, two. My male protag is scheming to get off the planet even though there’s a war on. My female protag has demonstrated a combination of leadership and rebellion. She’s a fourteen-year-old Han Solo with ovaries in the making. (The Han Solo part. I’m pretty sure she’s had ovaries since her days as a fetus.) Originally, I planned to stop outlining yesterday (Really today, as I half-watch the Cleveland and Jacksonville while waiting for the Bengals game.)
Outlining is not a fast process. It’s faster than writing the narrative, and can make the narrative go faster. But a writer has to plan the next scene, and the next scene and so on, often going back and making sure continuity remains intact or, at the very least, manageable when new ideas veer off wildly. Still, it’s good to know where the story is going. I’m also learning how to balance plot points with the actual scenes. With a couple exceptions, I avoid writing out the dialog or the details. I simply write that this happens, then this, then this, and maybe a line or two of explanation just so I don’t go “WTF?”
Sometimes, I get detailed, because a scene is very clear. I actually wrote out the dialog between two characters in one scene, and in another, because the scene came to me so clear, I devoted two whole paragraphs to it. I don’t want to do this too often. I’m just building a framework. You don’t put the walls in a skyscraper until the frame is in place.
For the most part, I’ve written in a rhythm. One scene with one set of protags, almost always from the POV of the main protag, then the other set from their main character’s POV. But then something strange happened. My female protag hit a wall in the plot. And my male protag needed several consecutive scenes to launch into his drive to escape the planet (with his new bride). I found a built-in solution. Give one set of characters a couple of chapters on their own to give the other set time to settle into their new surroundings and setup bringing them all together for the final battle (and to setup the next story in the series.)
As I said, I was only going to do a week of this to get back into the narrative. Only on Sunday morning, when I wrote this post, I realized I wanted to see what happens next.