The Two Hundred and Nineteenth Post: The One Where I Have the Wonderful Sip of Coffee and a Podcast Marathon…

I love podcasts. My favorite – the go-to one if I don’t want to listen to music when I am writing – is Writing Excuses. It’s fast and covers one topic fairly well among published writers and a web cartoonist. I’ve gotten a lot of good advice while travelling or while writing (the sound of screeching tires is applicable in both instances). I can’t recommend it too highly for novice writers like me.

I finally got that tree trunk out of the ground and managed to sneak in some visual humor, so I can move on to Nysa and her inevitable screaming fit. This is one of those scenes that came to me relatively late in the writing (literally three weeks ago) which is why I keep my outlines somewhat vague:

  • Chapter 1: Tyro created
  • Chapter 2: The world as it is = Master flexes power
  • Chapter 3: Stickball game, Osahar gets rewarded, Master picks other Lord to get robbed, spy dies, Tyro becomes part of group for reals.

For the longest time, I would steadfastly refuse to do an outline. Outlines were for the weak. Every work sprang forth from my enlightened brow fully formed like Athena from the mind of Zeus, clad in armor and ready to fight for your attention.

Then I grew up and realized that’s not how a good book is made.

I found that if I had no outline, I was all over the place. Remember – this was before Amazon and when self-publishing was limited to vanity presses that were not really worth the effort, so I ran into the notion of a word count much like I ran into that wall on my bike when I was ten…complete with scraped forehead and chipped tooth. After that, I tried the tried and true outline format to discover what I hated in 4th grade I continued to hate many, many years later. I tried to bully my way through it knowing I needed to have some sort of organization, but not really realizing that I don’t have to do the outline the way Sister Mary Catherine of the +5 Vorpal Ruler told me to do it…until I was so disgusted I just started doing it the way I wanted to do it. Yes, I am that stubborn. After I outline the first novel, I found that this was a huge help if I combined it with a couple of other things like the Five Act Structure. Everything gets covered, I still have enough wiggle room if I get a flash of sudden inspiration, I can incorporate it into the book and not deviate greatly from the main outline. Good example of this is with Nysa – she was supposed to go with the others and buy the figurative farm at the next village rather than stick around and show up again in the third book to show us how much Tyro has changed in between books.

Be utilitarian – if it works, fantastic. Wear it out. If it doesn’t – throw it away without oxidizing another glucose molecule in your frontal lobe.

Well, I need to get Nysa to screaming. Hope your day is just as productive, but not as loud.



Seething Apathy

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