The outline advantage

Joe’s Post #81 – 

Vegas and writingThe good news/bad news about an outline is that you can spot a problem must faster than if you wrote out 500 pages, gave it to a critique group or an agent or your dog. By doing up an outline, sometimes you simply cannot make something work no matter how much you love it.

That was my experience this week.

I had a fantastic story idea, a great character, I had an epic story-line, good action, a great ending, some emotion here and there, and even a villain that I think would stay with everyone. But there was a big flaw. At least one I cannot overcome at this point.

thI may not have the right hero, the right protagonist, for this story. Oh, I love the guy, I really do, but his background, his job, his skills, well… let’s just say it pushes believability a bit far. Maybe too far.

I’ll do some brainstorming over the weekend, probably bug my CBCG (Chief Brainstorming Coffee Guru) and see if we can’t make it work, but it could be that I have to drop him and run with someone else.

You’d think that would be an easy fix. Take out Sherlock Holmes, insert Han Solo. But imagine how the story changes. Character is plot and if I have to sub out my lead, then the plot will surely change as well.

So the next question I have to ask myself, is the change for the better?

Either way, I saved myself a whole lot of writing doing up an outline. I suspect it’s not an uber outline like Karalee has done, but it’s good enough to spot the flaws.

I’ll keep you posted, but I want to start on that novel in March. I’ll set another 5 month deadline. In the meantime, more research (which I still suck at), more brainstorming and probably more lying in bed sorting scenes in my head.


Number of Queries Sent: 5

Number of Rejections: 3. All were very nice and professional. Didn’t make me feel any better, but at least I know and man, they were fast rejections.

Number of Queries I’ll send next week: 10

Number of Other Blogs Written: 1 (About Older Brothers)

Number of Blogs Written About My Stupid Braces: 10 (all not posted due to an attack of shyness).

Temperature at Grouse Mt: -14. (-200 with wind chill.)

Number of New Coats Purchased To Combat Windchill: 1

Pictures Taken at Pond Hockey Tournament at Grouse Mt: 423.

4 thoughts on “The outline advantage

  1. Good on you for at least getting some queries out this week – and a back to the drawing board moment is better than not even getting enough done to have an ‘ah ha’ moment! I love the idea that you are going to set another 5months challenge for yourself. When we did this the first time – I hadn’t outlined first and outlining took up a good 2 months – leaving only three or so to actually write the novel in five months. If you have your outline done first, you should breeze to the finish line!

  2. You know I love Lou. Actually I’m IN love with Lou. Don’t tell David. But I think I’m with you on your protagonist for the new book. You have another great character in you, just waiting to get on stage Joe. Find him. Be him!

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