It is funny, but if I don’t outline any I get lost, and a book starts to meander until I don’t want to do anything more with it because getting things right would mean rewriting the thing, and I never have the enthusiasm for that. I need a big push, and then I’ll sail on from the power of the push to the end.
But conversely, if I outline too much, then it starts to feel like I’ve already done the story, and enthusiasm can falter from that. Writing a book is such a chore at times that one needs the enthusiasm to overcome the mechanics of writing it. There must be some balance in there, somewhere, that I’ve yet to find.
I counted the manuscripts that I have in my desk. I always print out a finished manuscript and keep a paper copy in an envelope with the name on the story on the front of the envelope. There are ten such envelopes in my drawer, which means that now I’ve written ten books.
Most of those are dreadful. Really dreadful. I see writing them as giving in to a kind of OCD that I have, which is quite mad if you think about it. I like to spend a lot of my time with imaginary friends that run around in my head, and then I record their doings. That is a bit insane, isn’t it? I also see writing them as a necessary learning experience. One day, I’ll write one that just shines. None of them do yet. There are always flaws in them. Flaws so clear that they’ll stay in my drawer.
But, the thing is that the flaw only became clear after writing them. When I was outlining, and drafting, I didn’t see the flaws. But now that I do, the flaws don’t appear in the books I write after. So, maybe one day, I’ll write a book where I don’t see those flaws?