I've blogged about my writing process before (see this blog post)and you can see that I'm part pantser and part plotter. Usually I start with a back cover blurb one page synopsis thingy, I fly through my beginning, get lost in the murky middle, stop for a while, go back, can see my ending and six months later I usually have a book. However, this wip has been nothing if not different.
Everything started off pretty normally. I had a great idea, started off running, as per usual got lost in the middle, stopped, went back but this time I re-wrote (and re-wrote) the beginning, continued to struggle through the middle but forced my way through (it still needs a serious re-write) and for whatever reason (maybe because I didn't want to struggle so much anymore) as I hit the last third of the book, I decided to write an outline that would get me to the end. But not a short, vague outline. I'm talking about a scene by scene, chapter by chapter outline. How did that work out you ask?
Holy Mary Mother of Writers. Why had I never done this before?
I had characters with a purpose, where an action led directly and purposefully toward another action. Things I'd brought in at the beginning were pulled into the lead up to the climax so I now knew why I'd put them in the beginning in the first place. Everytime I stumbled now, I didn't need to angst. I could just flip back to my outline and remind myself of where I was, what my characters were supposed to be doing and, most importantly, where they were supposed to be going and why. I could see my finish! Heck, I could count the number of steps to get me there! No wonder plotters love their system. It's a great system.
But what of my old process? Will I ever outline that murky middle? Well, of course, you say. Didn't you just prove that outlining solves all writers problems? Ummm. Maybe. But you see, I outlined the last third of my book. I was almost done. If I'd outlined the whole thing right from the get go, knowing me, I'd be sick of the book. My scene by scene outlines are detailed things, people. I think I could only do that for the last ten chapters because I was so close to finishing already. Outlining 30 chapters or more?? No.
However, maybe for the next wip I'll outline the murky middle and then stumble through to the end with no outline. I can't just stop being a part pantser just like that!