Finished my Thirteen Treasures of Britain rough draft the other day. Whew!
Now comes the long march of revisions. I might just totally, utterly, and completely revamp my entire story. So that should be fun.
What’s weird is that I used to outline my stories in the past — lots of note cards, lots of outlines, etc. — and I found it made the process of actually writing to be a bit of a slog. I found that my inspiration kinda died if I did too much outlining and planning ahead of time.
So with Thirteen Treasures of Britain, I totally wrote by the seat of my pants (“pantsers” as they say in NaNo-realm). It was fun to write (until the end, where I had no idea how to finish the story in a non-lame way), but now I’m afraid what I have is a hodgepodge mess of a story that ends in a boring, predictable way. My endings always suck. But this one was particularly sucky because I didn’t have a plan going in.
Does this mean I really need to be a “planner”? Do I have to do a full outline beforehand? Do I need all kinds of character profiles and maps and background-y stuff?
It’s looking more and more like I do. And yet, I’m afraid that I’ll plan everything out and then be completely uninspired when I sit down to write. It’s happened to me before. Will it happen again?
Interestingly, when I was in college learning about screenwriting, it was pretty much hammered into our brains that we had to write treatments (basically, outlines in story-form), beat sheets, and scene summaries. And I never found these kinds of pre-writing tools to be soul-deadening or inspiration-crushing.
My plan for revising The Thirteen Treasures of Britain will include the following:
- Rereading my rough draft and marking up sections (basic categories: keep it, toss it, needs work)
- Creating a “BORG outline” (trademark: James Scott Bell in Plot & Structure) for a new version of the story
- Seeing where I can combine material from my rough draft with my new story outline
- Writing a second draft (using the new outline)
For now, I’m letting the draft settle and I’m working on pre-writing for an entirely different story (tentatively titled The Red Tower). I will return to the Thirteen Treasures of Britain rough draft in a week and go from there.
I’m kinda excited. Revision is one of my favorite parts of writing.