Monday, April 9, 2012

Outlines are hard like my...

...high school algebra finals.

What?  Where did you think I was going with that?

Anyway, I've written before about my difficulty with outlines. But I decided a novel, as the single largest writing project I will have tackled so far in my life, deserved more than just to be spat out upon my keyboard, spewed forth from my brain without direction of any kind.

Thus it was that I completed an outline for my novel (which I have yet to settle on a title - that will be another blog post, I assure you).  It's a pretty basic outline which merely lists a couple of goals for each chapter, sentence fragments of ideas that I think should happen at each point.

"So and so meet at this place and discuss such and such" is essentially how it goes.

"So and so beat the crap out of each other at bla bla" and so on.

But one of the things that struck me while I was writing it was that the structure of it seemed to flow a little better.  The outline adheres to the basic idea of the novel I've had in my head, with some added junk thrown in.  But therein, you'll recall, was my problem - I constantly have new ideas I want to add in which ends up changing the project drastically as I'm writing it.  With the outline, I'm hoping to avoid it, but I don't know if that's possible because I simply found myself modifying the outline on the fly!

My high school art teacher, who always was reminding me that I was very talented but extremely lacking in organization and follow through, once said that "the real world doesn't have outlines."  This was because my naturally cartoonish artistic style meant that every object I drew had lines to define its shape instead of using shade.  It's sort of hard to describe, but essentially it boils down to, Look at the world around you and note that no real object has a black line around it.

This is a completely different kind of outline, but the idea popped into my head earlier as I was finishing the outline.  I thought this was very funny because now years later, outlines are still bugging me and I'm still a giant pain in the ass who lacks organization and follow through.