Breaking the Outline

My writing process is a little odd. I can’t start a story with an outline but I can’t finish without one either. Generally speaking I can write three quarters of the book before I have to sit down and map out the last few chapters. This allows my creative mind to build the story focused on the characters and what they’re after without feeling restrained by the outline.

Residual Haunting, however, has broken every single outline I’ve made for it.

I’m in the final leg of the journey for our intrepid heroes and I know where I want to end it, weird crap just keeps happening.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the important bits. I know how and why the witiko escaped. I know it’s hungry and coming for them. And I know what the heroes need to do in order to kill it.

It’s just that every chapter for the last several weeks has given me something to sit back and go; “Whoa …”

It keeps breaking the outline.

Part of me is alright with this. The other part of me keeps looking at my 3×5 cards and wondering how much smaller my handwriting is going to have to get in order to fit everything on there. It’s crazy. If it were any other book I’d set it aside for a month or two and come back to it, but I started serializing Residual back in October so it’s kinda … you know … important that I get stuff written every week.

This experience is making it very clear to me that I am just not cut out to be a “pantser” … or someone who writes “by the seat of their pants.” At this point I really do prefer to have that outline in place. It helps me know the ending (once I reach it) is going to make sense.

So … this is me to my WIP; “Knock it off. I’m trying to finish you.”

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