Monday, June 13, 2011
Flying without a Net
Been flying without a net with the new book I'm working on, which is unfortunate, because I keep falling off the highwire and cracking my head open on the ground below.
That is, writing without an outline. Just... seeing where it takes me.
Eh. Not such a good idea. So many wrong turns, so many characters without a clear motivation, so many threads that keep getting tangled up. A few minutes ago, I decided I didn't have a fucking clue what I was doing and really need to re-think this whole project...
At it's core, it's a good solid concept involving a washed-up ex-wrestler, his much smarter girlfriend, a Memphis mobster with two crazy-ass strong-arms, and fifty G worth of money that they all want. Let the hilarity ensue. But less than 80 pages in (working without a net, as I say) the various plot threads have become hopelessly tangled and nonsensical. This whole "seeing where it takes me" thing has led to too many POV shifts, too many peripheral characters with not much to do other than say a few words or pound a few heads or take a few drugs. I'm totally losing sight of the story.
So I'm thinking of starting fresh, this time with a halfway decent outline, concentrating on two or three central characters, and seeing if I can salvage anything out of this mess.
I know some of you work very well without an outline, but for me... man, it's a disaster.
So tell me, if you're a writer... outline or no outline for your work? And if you're a reader... do you prefer stories with tight, insulated casts, or big, sprawling byzantine plots?
P.S. That image above, which has nothing to do with anything I was just talking about, is by the magnificent Christopher Moonlight, if you're interested. You can find his work at Moonlight Art Magazine. I'm a big fan of his.