Outlines

Well, I’m not doing as well at my plan of blogging every day as I’d hoped. New Year’s resolution: get better at that.

One excuse reason I’ve been slacking distracted is that I’m working on an outline for my next book. There exists a great debate on whether one should outline or not. It’s a debate I periodically get from authors I work with, based on the idea that some of us are outliners and some of us write better if we’re making things up as we go.

The factor that confounds this neat division is writing work-for-hire. Books like the Dungeons¬†& Dragons novels are done work-for-hire–that is, authors sign a contract agreeing to write a book according to specifications they’re given. In order to do that (safely and)¬†easily, the author really needs to craft an outline and get it approved by the line editor–the editor in charge of making sure books adhere to the established canon and style. If the author doesn’t do this (or does it in a half-assed way), there’s every chance that by the time the author finishes the first draft there will be a problem. And when you have to work with the rules of the game, the setting you’re writing in, and the parameters of the story you’re writing, there are a lot of places it’s handy to have a second set of dedicated eyes looking in.

But first, you have to write it.

I’m really excited about this book, but I have to admit, I’m also feeling cautious. Second books have such a stigma. I feel good about the characters, but–as with the last book–the plot is like trying to put a vase back together. It will get there, but in the mean time it feels extraordinarily daunting.

And all my sourcebooks are in the office.

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