Outline or no outline, part three

After a long absence (almost a month), here’s the last bit on outlining.

As I mentioned, I’m determined to have an outline before I start writing “When We Dream…” That doesn’t mean that I won’t write scenes, events, chapters, character biographies – another topic for here, maybe! – while I’m outlining.

I think that, with most or all writers, it’s would be impossible NOT to jump between parts of a project. Many writers, myself included, jump between projects all the time. If I get stuck on one, I can turn to the other.

But I feel like I spent too much time writing things that aren’t going to be in the final draft, the one that goes out to agents and publishers. A scene came to mind, it seemed like a cool idea, so I wrote it, not knowing where or even if it would fit into the story.

Sometimes that worked, often it didn’t. My first draft suffers now from a kind of uneven progression in the “rising action” part of Freytag’s Pyramid,

Freytag's Pyramid

which you can learn about in college drama class or here. A few friends have pointed this out, and I’m addressing it in my revision.

Something about the innate human need for stories includes (I think) the need for suspense, complications, and reversals to build as the story progresses. Writing in out-of-order chunks can undercut that. Sure it’s easy to fix: I moved some chunks around and cut others. But I think it’ll be easier to get the story in order first.

I’ll let you know how that goes.