What am I talking about? I am talking about which comes first, the Outline or the Pages? Now all of you die hard outliners out there will obviously say the outline. And all of you "organic" writers will say... well, it's a little of both, back and forth, do what you need as you need it.
OK. Fine. I've done it the "organic" way for a year and what I've found is I've done a lot of spinning. I also call this crazy method two-stepping because I take one step forward and two steps back (or three or four...).
Another week has passed, another week's worth of goals, and still no real amount of viable new pages have passed through my fingertips to my computer screen. Why is that? This was the topic of today's phone conference with my therapist... Er... I mean writing buddy, which is beginning to feel a little like therapy for writers.
What we discovered...
The reason I am not writing new pages is because there is still so much I have to know. I still need to do research and figure things out and fill the gaps in my story. For example, I know the ending will involve my MC realizing her journey is only just beginning - setting the stage for a sequel - but I am still unsure what her larger calling is. I know it will be some Earth First kind of thing, but I am unsure what specifically. Because I still have all these gaps and holes, I am having great difficulty writing forward.
So, I am putting this question out there to all of you, my fellow writers...
Do you think it is better for me to spend the rest of the summer (or however much time I need) to fill in all these gaps in my outline, by researching, reading, brainstorming, interviewing, etc, making sure my outline has filled in all these gaps and holes and then write the ending?
Or do you think I should just keep my notes as to all my gaps and holes, and just write the ending as if I have solved all my problems?
Which is better? Which do I work on first... or at least work on now... the Outline, or the Pages. I know writing pages will sometimes lead you away from your outline and that is the "organic" part to writing and I am OK with that.
I am used to spending my summers reading, researching, and note taking. Maybe I should listen to my natural rhythms of writing -- my process -- and not fight them or force them to be what I want when I want. OR... Is that what real writers do? -- force themselves to write no matter what, even if it's against their natural process or rhythm.
What rules me? Or should I say who (or what) rules whom? Do I rule my process, or does my process rule me????
Like I said, here I go 'round the mulberry bush...again...
This Week's Goals
- Fill in the gaps and holes of my story. Figure things out now, not later.
- Research about black willow trees vs white willow trees in folklore and Celtic mythology.
- Research rain forests -specifically what ones are at most danger, what is being done to continue the hurt, what is being done to stop it?
- (aside from writing...) Finish steps 4, 5, and 6 of refinishing my daughter's dresser.
Let me know what you think? Do I write to the end regardless of all my gaps and holes? Or do I get my outline airtight?