For the last three to four weeks I have been writing about 2,000 words every day. It had been going pretty well until about three days ago when I sort of ran aground. A month ago I worked on a rough outline of the beginning chapters and I ran with it. Since then I have avoided anything to do with the story that wasn’t directly related to my daily word count. I didn’t want to get distracted and spend a lot of time on character descriptions and backgrounds or mapping out the timeline beyond a rough time span of summer vacation. I figured this is a rewrite so I didn’t need to do anything that could be a time waster, avoid procrastination and just get the words on the page or in my case on the screen.
As it turns out those things I usually do aren’t quite the time wasters I thought they were. I am seven chapters in and I feel a little like I am in a revolving door. Without a more in depth outline I am not sure how to proceed, back story information needs to be in there but how much and where? Clearly, it has to be part of what moves the story along, I don’t want it to feel like an info dump. If it’s not relevant to the characters and their role in the scene then it’s like slamming the brakes on the flow of the story. I am probably mixing my metaphors there but hopefully I am getting the point across, no one wants to read the blah, blah, blah stuff. It’s boring. Any back story details or story details in general need to be nearly invisible. Or disguised as character development or additional conflict.
I need a new and improved outline so I can get an idea of where to scatter the details. If I go through them too early then the rest of my characters’ inner dialogue is going to look like stage direction. If I wait too long then it may be confusing to the reader. A new outline will help me remember if I’ve already gone over something, nothing worse than hearing the same stupid episode from a character’s past repeated a couple of times. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought, “Seriously, not this again. Yes, we got it. Bonnie doesn’t like using public restrooms after the time she trailed three feet of toilet paper behind her when she was in high school. Get on with it!” Now that I am writing every day I have to wonder if the author didn’t have a moment where she truly wondered if she had written that part already and just wrote it again to be safe. Probably not, but I have moments where I have to skim through previous chapters trying to figure out what details came out and where in the story. It’s a complete waste of time and somewhat exhausting.
My words for the week are…
Outline, flow and relevent