I've been writing, working on my new novel, every day for the past week or so. I've finished the pivotal first two chapters and have started work on the third. It's always around this time in the process, as I'm delving into a new scene, when it hits me...I need an outline. Without one, my character takes too much control. And as all characters are mischievous by nature, I mustn't let that happen.
I never like to start with an outline, because I like to explore a little at first. But eventually, when working many ideas into one story, there comes a time when all of the pieces need to be arranged properly or risk becoming a mess.
I have all of these scenes and bits of conversations that will take place over the course of the book. I know where the character is coming from and where she's going. Now I have to decide the best way to dole out this information so that story is compelling. I've always felt pacing to be one of the keys to writing a good novel. And this is the one place where a rough outline can really help. It keeps me from wandering or repeating myself by helping me focus on the scene at hand. I no longer worry about all the other things I want to say...because of the outline, I know they're covered, all in their own time.
So, I'm off to the cafe to sort through these pieces. Hopefully to return with a really good frame with a blank canvas to fill in. (artwork above by the wonderful James Jean).