I abhor outlining when writing. I’ve seen the tutorials and how certain other professionals plan their stories, but that, to me, would feel like being forced to write state-sponsored propaganda under Stalin’s regime. Why would anyone want to lock themselves into a pre-conceived structure? I guess my brain just doesn’t work that way.
I’ve said it before that the joy in writing, for me, is discovery. It’s an adventure across an unknown landscape unsure what will be discovered around the next bend. It’s the thrill of the chase. Neil Gaiman described it as driving through fog with your headlights out (or something to that effect). I can get behind a metaphor like that.
But then there’s this: a storyline so obvious that it nearly writes itself. I had that revelation just two days ago while working on my sequel to my yet-to-be-released baseball novel.
Sequels are different in that the world-building has already happened. Now the writer has to live in that universe and is bound by the structure and actions of the first book. That can be constraining, but if the material is compelling enough, it’s still not a bore to write. I think that’s why it took me so long to actually write a series. I thought it would be a bore. My mind always wanted to move on to other endeavors, but I have now come to grips with the fact that writing sequels has its own challenges and benefits.
The challenge it to meet and exceed expectations from book 1. Not always easy to do.
The benefits, the story almost writes itself.
In my unnamed sequel to A DIAMOND FOR HER, it’s almost laughable how obvious the plot is, at least to me. I actually questioned myself about that fact: will the readers already know where this is going? Of course not. Nobody has such silly meandering thoughts as I do.
There is still much to be fleshed-out and a long summer of writing ahead to possibly have a finished draft, but it comes down to these simple tasks:
- Complete the unfinished business of book 1. Check. I’m on it.
- Introduce new and interesting characters who will help you do it. Check.
- Find wonder, intrigue, and laughter in the minute details, even if they are constrained by what I’ve previously written.
- Bring about a climax which will satisfy all participants in this crazy journey. Working on it.
Writing can be both discovery – when starting a new manuscript – and writing can be the rearranging of the final pieces of the puzzle left open in the previous installment. I’m now okay with both styles of writing even though one is, without a doubt, more enjoyable than others.
To find out more about my upcoming release, check out the links below: