When we last chatted on this site, I was trying a new technique to outline my novels before writing the beats. I’d successfully written the beats for Divinity Ascending, but I felt like there had to be a faster way. In my previous post, I talked about trying out OmniOutliner and tried it out.
There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that OmniOutliner is a fantastic outlining tool. The bad news is that making an outline wasn’t what was holding me up.
Please allow me to take a moment and confirm some advice we’ve all heard before: If you want to finish writing a novel, you have to write the novel. Putting a little different spin on that, I’d also say that if you want to finish a novel’s beats, you have the write the novel’s beats.
I got caught up trying to make an outline explicitly following Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering. I still think it’s a fantastic resource, and I’m still using it as a guide, but I found that if I try to use it as the skeleton of an outline, I couldn’t make progress.
So now I’m taking a different tack. I’m trying to think through the political, corporate, religious, and other world-building elements. Since I’m often away from my desk when I have time to work on that stuff, I’m using Notes on my iPhone, laptop, or (when I manage to get home) my iMac.
Another factor is that since early this year, I’ve experimented with increasing the number of posts on my anime site, Crow’s World of Anime. In the Spring 2019 anime season, I went from about 3 posts a week to 5. In the Summer 2019 season, I went to 8. I learned two important lessons:
- I could publish content daily (two on Sunday, including a collaboration with Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime), which means I had time to write.
- Writing 8 posts a week meant I had little time for, you know, novel writing.
In essence, I was trading the excitement and pride in producing content whose daily readership is steadily increasing for progress on the novels.
Starting with the next anime season, I’m going to reduce my output to 2 main reviews, a collaboration review (if my collaborator has not grown weary of collaborating with me!), and one or two abbreviated reviews, which I call Best in Show. That’ll free up some time for novel preparation and writing.
If that’s not enough time, I might cut back to one main review, a collaboration review, and 2 or 3 Best in Show reviews. The latter are much faster to write, though my readers seem to prefer the longer form reviews.
If it means I can force myself to focus more attention on novel writing, it’ll be more than worth it.
Apologies for any typographic errors — I had a few minutes before turning in, and I wanted to give you a quick update. Please feel free to share any thoughts about Apple’s Notes or integrating it with Scrivener (especially beyond just copy/pasting!).
Thanks for stopping by!