“Novel 2” Progress

If you’ve followed me on either Twitter or this blog, you know that I have two novels in progress. One, Flowers for Dionysus is, which is undergoing its fourth revision. It’s the one I talk about most and the one that’s closest to being publish or query ready.

Sometimes, you’ll hear me speak of what I am calling for now “Novel 2”. It’s not a sequel to the first novel. Totally different characters, story and tone. Possibly different genre, though I still struggle with classifying either novel.

As with my first novel, I outlined the first half of the plot for Novel 2. Unlike my first novel, I completed the first half as part of National Novel Writing Month. Since November, I have been outlining the second half of Novel 2.

It’s been rougher going for this novel than the first one. More plot problems. More questions. Fewer things solved during the outline process. I cover one mess, and several more show up.

Late last month I decided to outline the last chapter or two. I was already about 75% of the way to the end anyway, as far as I could tell, but there were about a million small stepping stones I had to create to get there. Those stepping stones will have to be in place somehow, eventually. Yet I decided, despite my self-identification as a plotter, that continuing to outline wasn’t doing me any good in this circumstance.

The whole point of plotting for me is to provide a road to travel on, so I’m not flying by the seat of my pants when I actually write the prose. While I have that road, I don’t have as many stops along the way mapped out. I used to those stops being there, so I wanted to get most of them down in the outline. But this time it felt my dinner was going to be cancelled because I was spending hours polishing the silverware.

Silverware is of course vital to most meals, but if one spends too much time on it without starting to cook, there is no dinner. I felt at this point that continuing to outline was polishing the silverware before I even knew what food I was preparing.

So, once the latest draft of my first novel is completed, I am going to finish the rough draft of Novel 2.

It goes against the plan, but I realize sometimes one needs to be flexible when it comes to writing plans and goals. My hope is that some of the problems that have arisen with the story will get solved as I write what I do have. I confess to being uneasy about the prospect, but at least I will be moving forward. I will be cooking something for dinner, to continue my tired analogy.

Other than Nanowrimo, I’m not a fan of pantsing, and I keep telling myself that I would be pantsing for this. That broad as it may be, I still have an outline to follow for about 75-80% of this Novel 2, so I’m not shooting in the dark. It’s just that I had close to 95% of my first novel outlined, and I suppose I got used to doing it that way.

I shouldn’t be afraid of this, I suppose. I’ve still got quite a guide to work from. The process mustn’t be the enemy of the product. I’m just hoping the product ends up as solid as I’d hoped when I started outlining.

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