Yesterday I finished the outline—or “blueprint”—of The End of Magic, working title of The Next Novel. Sixty pages! (Although there is lots of white space.) Twenty drafts! (Although many of these involved minor changes.)
Now it’s time to move back to our country home and get to work. I’ve allowed myself four months to write the first draft.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed about our two-month stay in Toronto is use of the Toronto Public Library system. It’s so easy to request a book on-line, so easy to pick it up. Jennifer Glossip, a wonderful fiction editor I’ve known for decades, shared with me the list of good books on fiction she gives out at workshops. A number of these titles were my favorites, as well, but several I hadn’t heard of … and so I’ve been having a look at some of them.
The one book that I gobbled up, covering it with post-it notes, was Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. It had an immediate impact on my outline. What do my characters want? What is the obstacle? What action results?
These need to be evident on every page.
What I love about reading a book like this is that it sets off ideas, sparking like mad. I’ll be posting more about this book in days to come.
Thanks for all the comments!
Sherry Lee: YES! The TPL is SO great.
Lucy, glad you like the title (although it's not etched in stone).
Scobberlotcher, I'm writing those three words on a sticky note too.
The Sentinel: although it's long, it's far from a full outline. It's basically a scene by scene description. I've never worked this way before — having had trouble with outlines, as well — but I like how it forces me to think through potential problems in advance.
I admire your ability to outline fully ahead of time! Not a discipline I've mastered yet. I look forward to the both your notes on the Cleaver book, and your new work.
Sounds like a great book. And I just wrote your blog title on a Sticky Note because it's a perfect reminder. Thanks!
What an intriguing working title! Can't wait for your next book Sandra:)
You can't beat the Toronto Public Library system for it's amazing online service. Another reason to give thanks for the internet and technology! Looking forward to your new book…the working title sounds intriguing!!