I spent most of the evening outlining the next project. Actually, two of the next three projects. Both are novels, one is completely new, the other is a restart of something I put aside on a while ago. I’ve been doing the bulk of the initial work on paper so as not to have to use my netbook, which is about as good a sign as any that it really needs to go. When you have a machine, and you avoid using it in favour of manual labour because the machine is a pain in the ass to use, it’s a problem.
I held off reworking the old novel for a long time, mostly because I’d come to the realization that it was completely broken. Also, in previous attempts to rewrite it, I would change the order of things or detail additional plot points or character elements, then start again but for the most part it would be the same story that failed the last time I tried it. I do tend to say this a lot (to myself at least), but I have a good feeling about it this time. I’ve identified a lot of problem areas and have been working at going around them as opposed to writing through them. I’ve been extremely harsh where the previous version was concerned and have documented in detail all the things which were holding it back. A lot of them are the little darlings you get hooked on, cool scenes or ideas which do nothing to advance the story. Having one or two of those isn’t a big problem because they can be removed later, but I had quite a few and was basically playing connect the dots with them, forcing the story to go from one place to the other and hoping it would stick. It never sticks.
I’ve known for years that I was an outline writer, and yet outlining has remained a fairly weak point for me where novels are concerned. So I’m applying a new outlining method to it all, and we’ll see where that takes me for both the two new novel projects. The third upcoming project is a rework of the not-so-short story from last month. Oddly enough, after writing a completely bizarre and unmarketable short story, I saw an anthology taking submissions for exactly that kind of story, so it may something I can sell after all.