Battle of the Brains: Planning Vs. Pantsing


 

Hey, everyone! I'm coming up for air (from the depths of my new MS) and wanted to let you know how it's all going--especially that extensive outline I started with!

We're three weeks in, which means most of us are in the doldrums. At least, that's where I am. I've been managing to meet my word counts every day, but I feel like I'm forcing it out. Like I have constipation of the imagination. This, of course, is famously where the outline helps.

So is my outline helping? Have I stuck to the plan well enough for it to have any meaning at all at this point?

Yes and no, on both counts. I've wandered a bit--things I planned for one point have ended up happening earlier, which leaves me with holes, or a lack of a point for a planned scene. But I do still have a more or less chronological list of the the things that need to happen to get to the solution of the mystery, and I can consult it when I'm flagging.

I also have a growing list of things that I think I'll need to go back and write into earlier scenes, from minor character things to plot points and red herrings. That means I need to look at pulling things to a conclusion around 65 or 70K words, to keep the final draft around 80K.

I think I'm going to have to admit that there's no way for me to make a nice, clean first draft that gets all the story bits in place. I did a great job of visualizing the beginning and ending of the story, but the stuff in between is... fuzzy. I wonder it it's possible for it to be anything else.

Word count as of 11/19: 42084. Less than 8K to "win" NaNo, but just past halfway to a novel.
Target: 80K by Christmas. We have a 2-week trip planned in early December. I'll be writing on airplanes, for sure!

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