The Ice Giveth Way!

Okay, so I know that I’ve said that I was making progress on the outline for Possession, and I was, but it wasn’t much, and it often wasn’t that pretty, requiring some pouring over and work even after the entries were in the outline.  That all changed tonight.  I finally got them on the road to the climax, and have at least a base play-by-play in my head for the rest of the book, including the things I need to wrap up in this book, and what I need to leave loose still for the grand finale, The Nine.  Yay!  I think I’m about 3/4 of the way done the outline now, which is awesome.  I’m just about willing to bet money that this one will be longer than Dark Mirror, definitely more intricate, and a bit more event driven (though still with much character development, and well, what one might call character abuse.  I’d apologize to them, but I’m not really sorry, and I refuse to get stuck with their therapy bills).  These are good things though, in my opinion, so I’m going with them.  I’m now starting to really get revved up to get on with writing it, but there are still steps to go through, things I’ve learned I need to do so I don’t have to throw out the whole first draft (hopefully) this time.  Once the outline is done, I need to let it sit and reread it.  This should go fairly well, partly because of all the rereading of it I’ve already done in my struggles with the parts I was just going through, but not to be skipped in any case.

Also, I don’t want to lose the thread of DM in my rush of excitement with the new book.  I know two people who will kill me if I don’t get it to them at some point in the near future, and no one wants that, especially me. My plan is to do my next pass of editing (which I’m already thinking about and planning out) while the outline for Possession sits in the mythic aging drawer, and then see where we are, but I think that will be the final pass before printing and mailing to above mentioned test readers.  Then to keep busy and not pester.  I think I can manage that, though some days it will likely be difficult.

And then there’s the short story, currently going under the title Cost of Duty.  The whole not patient thing reared its head (please, don’t laugh in total lack of surprise, just cause it’s true).  I read the story on Tuesday, then sent it to my test readers.  My, did I ever hear back quickly.  And in the good sense too.  No, no comments that it was perfect because, well, nothing ever is, but also nothing major wrong.  It was minor stuff, which I’ve already acted on.  It’s now in the drawer for a few days or so (depending on my patience and how busy I am this weekend with a training session on Monday to prep for, and the above writing tasks sitting on the front of my brain).  I may not get to rereading that until sometime next week, which is fine.  More time means more distance, and I can then view it with a clearer eye.  But I feel very good about this.  The question, then, is what to do with this one.  I’m of several minds (no, this does not resemble multiple-personality disorder, as much as it sounds like it should), but I will probably submit it to a couple of short fiction pro markets (defined as paying at least 5¢/word, some pay more), partly because I don’t want to do a cover for 3500 words, really don’t.  And I don’t know how I would price it as a self-pub e-story.  That might be because I can’t imagine buying a short story as a one-off, though.  I think research will be in order on that one.

Beyond that, I will need to keep The Nine on my brain as I move into the first draft stage of Possession, because I will probably start outlining that one as soon as I finish Possession.  I don’t think I plan on stopping at all, ever.  Too many ideas, really, not enough time to write.  Besides, I like being busy like this.  It keeps me happier.

Ah, yes, and picture time.  Really enjoying this, and I’m glad that others are too.  It feels good as a photographer to share some of my work, and only partly because the response has, thus far, been favourable.  Pictures should be shared, it’s just part of their nature, in my less-than-humble opinion.

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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22 Responses to The Ice Giveth Way!

  1. maggsworld says:

    It sounds productive and exciting, and an acute insight into creative mind at work – with some discipline lessons built in. Love the urn as well 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Thanks! It’s more like marginally controlled chaos in my head, honestly. If not for my iPad, there’s no way I could keep track of it all, let alone keep disciplined.

  2. ottabelle says:

    Congrats on your productivity and plans. You’re always so put together and I wish I was that way.

    How do you outline, I don’t know how well my current system is going to work. It works now, but maybe not forever, you know?

    If you figure out how to epub price a short story, lemme know please. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      It took me a lot of years to get this together, and some days it still doesn’t feel that together.

      As for outlining, I use a program called OmniOutliner. I own it for both my iMac and my iPad, but I mostly use it on the iPad. In fact, it’s the reason I own an iPad. It allows you to do nested hierarchy structures, so I start out with one for world notes, which gets sub-entries for everything pertaining to that, one for character notes, and one for the outline of the story. The actual story outline is done as sub-points, in a fairly linear fashion. I call it “and then” style, because it’s really written out “this happens, then this happens and then this happens” That doesn’t mean that the story is linear, just that the outline follows the line of the story. It’s not broken out by plot thread or any of that. Those kinds of notes usually end up as sub-notes for the appropriate character(s). What I like about this approach is that I can collapse up the stuff I’m not dealing with and it’s clear what things relate to. I’d post a pic so you can understand, since it’s fairly visual, but then I’d be giving story away 🙂

      In a less technical fashion, I really just start out with notes and then organize a bit into the above format, then keep making notes until I have the framework of a story in mind. Then I go through the whole thing, beginning to end, and reread later to see that it’s consistent and fill in anything extra I need. But this is the system that works for me. If yours works for you, stick with it. Every writer is different.

      • ottabelle says:

        That sounds so very organized. It seems like it would work better. I’d really like to get scrivener since I have the half off code still. It seems like a good program, and helpful.

        Thanks for letting me in your head!

      • Julie says:

        You’re welcome. I just like being able to go back and forth, add stuff in and delete it. I haven’t tried Scrivener myself. I have that code too, but I find that what I have works so well, and is quite portable on my iPad, that I don’t want to mess with it.

  3. klextin says:

    I just do not see how you manage to do it all, much less do it all so well!

    • Julie says:

      We’ll see how well it turns out when I’ve actually got a draft of this story done, but I will admit to being cautiously optimistic at this point. Thanks!

  4. Em says:

    Good for you. I still don’t feel like I have much of a grasp on this whole ‘outlining’ thing….

    • Julie says:

      You know, Em, I’m going to start to think you liked the short. The changes were minor, all of them, you know.

      And outlining means different things to different people, I think. I’ll have to show you a bit more of what I do when I’m back and can give you the whole visual.

  5. Em says:

    PS if you do make changes to the short, I’d love to read the revision. 🙂

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    You are one organized outliner! At best I get a partial one in my head sometime after I start writing down the characters’ narration to me. But we each find the system that works best for us 🙂

    Happy weekend!

    • Julie says:

      I totally agree, jmm, we all find what works for us. And it’s taken me a long time to find that for myself, but I kept making the mistake of trying to use processes prescribed by other people, instead of discovering what worked for me. I’m now trying to make up for lost time 😀

  7. Pete Denton says:

    It is good to read how other people work through the process. It helps you see that we often go through the same issues etc.

    You could ePub a collection of short stories rather than just the one. I’d go for the Pro markets first but the collection is an option.

    • Julie says:

      For a collection, I’d have to write more. I don’t normally do short stories, but this one literally demanded I write it. The last time that happened, it was my first one, written something like 17 years ago. I’ve tried a few in the years since, but it’s not a storytelling medium I’m usually that good at. This one turned out surprisingly well. But yeah, I’m thinking pro market for this one. I have a few in mind to start with, once I’m certain I’m happy with it. That may take a few more days.

  8. I love it when you hit that point where you’re absolutely desperate to start writing . . . that’s when you know you’ve stumbled upon a good idea.

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, it is a wonderful feeling. And a good one to have about the middle book in the trilogy, to be honest. I was a bit worried about it, but the way this last part of the outline is coming out, I think I have more to be worried about with book 3. I don’t know if I can top this as I should in the final book of the trilogy… But I’ll worry about The Nine later. Plenty of time for that as I polish one book and write the other.

  9. LOL i love reading about your process. mine is so ghetto in comparison! all i use is two ms word files, one with the outline, the other with the story and bookmarks for each scene so i can use the hyperlinks in the outline to jump directly to whatever point i need to, critical now that i’m in final edit…

    ok, maybe it isn’t SO ghetto but it feels a little amateurish after reading one of your posts… keeps my ego in check 🙂

    • question: do you go in with the ENTIRE outline in mind (including the ending) or do you have a starting point, create the outline as ink hits the page?

      • Julie says:

        Have I mentioned that I have a slight tech-toy addiction? Really, it’s just a matter of finding both what works for me, and what’s easy to turn in submittable manuscript later.

        As far as outline, I do the whole thing before I even open the blank document that will become the book. Beginning, middle and end, all of it, including character and world notes. If I ever get DM published, I’ll probably post a screen shot of the outline file, just so people can get an idea of what this sucker looks like, because this really is a single file.

        Part of the reason I do it this way, completely outline before I start, is that it allows me to see the shape of the whole story, and any complications I need to be aware of. I have had later parts of an outline require some reshaping of the beginning, where I needed to set something up. I’m finding that doing so reduces the amount of substantive editing I need once I have my finished manuscript. The outline contains my foreshadowing, things like that, which I might otherwise need to go back and write in. I’m also finding it’s helping me keep the whole trilogy straight.

        And I’ll be honest, if your approach works for you, stick with it. It’s just that this is what I’m finding works for me. That said, I think I live in terror of losing my iPad or having it stolen or busted. Seriously, it’s the stuff of nightmares, though I do back up my outline files regularly, and my notes app syncs constantly over the air to my iMac and the iCloud. Still, if it died, I’d be forced to buy a new one. I’m not sure I know how to write without it anymore. :p

  10. oh, i’m not touching my approach… it works! just marveling at how “professional” yours seems to be. having the entire outline figured out before you start to write blows me away, though. my novel is the first time i’ve EVER attempted creative writing so i read stephen king’s “on writing” and jacked his approach to never have the ending in mind when he started… it worked for me, didn’t know how i was going to close it out until chapter 16 was finished (i clocked in at 21 chapters).

    funny how the muses speak in ways that we can individually understand 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Professional, ha! It’s just what works for me. I go through the outline in that kind of discovery mode, and things do sometimes change on me (I had to rewrite half the outline on my first draft of DM because Tavis decided we were going somewhere completely different). But on the whole, this seems to be what gets me there.

      I tried the whole thing of drafting with no idea where I was going, but after the third straight novel died with me getting somewhere and having no idea where I needed to go or how to get there, I decided that approach just doesn’t work for me. This one lets me actually finish whole novels. 😀

      You’re right, though, each of us has our own muse that requires its own dance in order to seduce them into working with us. And even then, some days they’re unwilling to so much as look at us. 😮

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