Sunday, October 20, 2013

How writing without an outline is gonna get me in trouble...

When I wrote The Woodlands I really had no idea I was writing a book until I was 40 pages in and was batting my kids away with a rolled up newpaper so I could continue my obsessive typing.

It started with a simple idea and grew forwards, backwards, upwards and downwards from there.

You see, I write in the most confusing and manic fashion imaginable. Because I have absolutely no idea where it's leading. Usually I might have some vague endpoint in mind but that usually changes as the story evolves. After eight weeks, The Woodlands emerged a mess of 39 chapters that had no order. I literally printed each one out and lined them up, rearranged them and eventually it started to make sense.

When I wrote The Wall I thought I should write an outline. That lasted about five pages before it was thrown out the window and the story started meandering down it's own path. Sometimes I swear, I have a hard time keeping up with where it goes! For me, an outline is pointless because when I write it's almost akin to reading an exciting book, I'm pretty curious to know where it's all going to end up and that keeps me going. I have written outlines but have always abandoned them because it's boring for me when I already know what's going to happen. You wouldn't flip to the last page of a book and read the ending would you? But that's just me, and it probably says more about my lack of attention than anything else.

But now I'm in trouble. As with the others, book three of The Woodlands Series is taking on it's own life. It's pulsing and building it's way to something. Only I don't know what. Not yet anyway. But now that the first two books are out there, people have questions they want answered, characters they want to see develop. I'm hoping Rosa evolves and maybe my hope for my characters somehow translates into action. I'm sure at least, that Orry will grow and not turn into a monkey or sprout horns, but whether they all live, still like each other at the end of this and where on earth they'll end up...I just don't know.

All I can say is: I wish I knew what was going to happen to everyone but at the same time I don't. For me, it's part of the fun of writing.