On New Year’s Day 2010, I started a mystery-fantasy story set in a city vaguely inspired by my impression of Renaissance Paris. Coded Project Stoneweaver, It was a discovery writing project, and I had an idea of what might be going on, oh, two or three chapters ahead of where I was writing, at least until I didn’t. I dragged the dead end in my plot out about another two thousand words, then stared at the story for a couple of weeks before putting it away in favour of some short fiction.
I picked Stoneweaver up again near the end of April this year, a little more than two years after putting it down, thinking maybe my eyes were fresher and I could figure out where the story might go. After all, it had worked pretty well with Ancient Runes, another stalled novel project (this one from the end of 2009) that I’d picked up in December 2011, mildly edited to get back into the story, and taken from a little over 30k to almost exactly 67 over the course of the next four months. At first blush, Stoneweaver looked like it might work as well. Much like Ancient Runes, it didn’t suck nearly as badly as I remember. Unlike Ancient Runes, I had no idea whatsoever where the story was going. Less than 10k after picking it up again, I’ve reached the end of what I know. Maybe it’s time to put it down again. Not being beholden to any publisher, I have that luxury.
Which begs the question: what do I write next?
When I was still blogging on Small Realities, I mentioned a massive Fantasy story I’d decided to allow myself to write long hand while working primarily on the editing of Graceland and Heroes Inc (I’ve also nearly finished with the editing on Skip to My Luu, so I’d better get to work publishing). I’m going to leave that as a long hand project for now because, over the course of late March to mid May, I plotted an entire novel from start to finish.
This is a new thing for me. Traditionally, I’m mostly a discovery writer. Outlines don’t, as a general rule, work very well for me. I often plot out a handful of scenes beyond where I’m working, but rarely more than that. Having put together 12,000 words of plot forming what I think is a coherent story, I’m actually eager to test out how it will work. Reading through the outline, I feel like I’ve got a fairly clear idea of what each scene will look like (there are about seventy) as well as a couple of spots where I can see a gap in a character arc.
My fingers have been getting itchy for a while, so I started on it yesterday during a break at work and carried it over through my lunch as well. 766 words for what was probably less than half an hour, encouraging me to get the story out of my skull as fast as I can type in the time I have available. I’m not talking NaNoWriMo counts, but it should be interesting to see how quickly I can draft from an outline.
Or how slowly, I suppose.