Another Night… outline finished! now i have to write it?
this weekend i was able to get myself over the garage for a few hours each day and i nailed down the final working outline for Manadan & Gupti’s novella: Another Night at the End of the World!
i’ve tried to get the outline done several times over the past month, but each time i tried i found i needed more information about characters, places, relationships, motives and so on, which i had to discover through writing more and more notes about these people and their world. the result is i had about 50 pages of notes, which i had to read back through from the beginning this weekend because it’s been so long since i wrote the earliest ones.
i didn’t actually intend to read them all over again. i thought i had them cached in my brain and ready to use, since i’ve been picking away at this for so long. i was wrong. and happily so, too. when i started skimming the most recent notes before starting the outline, i found myself referring back to previous notes, and then to ones before that, and so on, so i finally decided to start at the beginning. two hours later i finished the collection and i had such a grin on my face. this story of these two men has blossomed into something i was hoping for, but wary of expecting.
i’m really excited about this one.
from the two characters i discovered in a random story attempt, to the world i’ve created (a simple idea that has given rise to thrilling complexities and breathtaking wonders, while remaining solidly accessible), to the discovery of unexpected, as well as hoped for, leitmotifs and the development of thoughts and ideas that echo with more resonance than just the direct confines of this particular story.*
the biggest part of this news for me, though, is that it means i can actually start writing the story proper. of course, with that milestone achieved (regular readers of this blog may know what’s coming next…), i enter the paralysis mode. i’ve mentioned elsewhere that i don’t recall getting ‘writer’s block’ as it’s traditionally referred to (no ideas, nothing to write). what i do suffer from is knowing that i have all these things to write, and that no matter how great and wonderful they are, there’s a lot of work coming, a lot of frustration and excitement, and i don’t really want to do it. of course, i really do want to do it, but i part of the downside of doing these outlines and the involved notes beforehand is that i see the majority of the work ahead of me, and i know i’ve placed into it some things that i don’t know if i can accomplish or not. do i have the skills to pull off a particularly emotional and pivotal scene, believably? can i make this story work in this new style i’ve selected to attempt? this world seems so cool to me, but will it just feel like cardboard to the reader?
so i tend to avoid the starting. the main reason, though, is i know it will consume me once i start. it means an hour or two before work and then from dinner til bed in the evenings. it means at least half of each weekend day. it means less time with my wife**. it means buckling down doubly so on school work. it means diving in, all the way. i can write notes and ideas for 5 minutes a day, but if i try to write a book, even a novella, in 5 minutes a day, i will never finish.
yet, for all that, i love it. the process of discovery and creation is unlike anything else, and i would not trade it.**
which brings me to another fantastic thing about making such steps with my writing: it allows me to get past the day-to-day drudgeries and human frailties of things like my penchant for focusing on the few negative people rather than all the positive ones in my life. it may not be the healthiest process, but when i have made progress with my writing, i come out of it with a de facto positive and pleasant view of the world, with the negative relegated to its properly subordinate position. writing really is my own personal high. pretty cool.
* at least, i think this now. we’ll see how i feel in the middle of draft 4.
** though i would happily trade my two part time jobs for a full time career of it, obviously.