Earlier this week I completed my first draft of the outline for “Evelyn’s Drawings Can’t Swim”. When I first started this process it seems like a daunting task. I had never written such an outline before and I wondered where to start—at the beginning obviously!—and if I had the whole story in me.
I started by just jotting down all the random ideas that had popped into my head about the story. I’d get excited when parts of the story started connecting. And slowly but surely the string of ideas began to form a skeleton of the story. It felt like it was truly turning into something that other people might want to read.
I think one of the most challenging and at the same time most interesting parts of this experience for me was that when I started the outline process I didn’t exactly know what was going to happen in the story. Well I knew some of it of course. But there were lots of events and details that hadn’t come to me easily like other elements of the story. I think I’ll kind of find that in some ways when I actually start to write and I look forward to that. I’ve heard other authors talk about this idea before, and I think it is a true reflection of the process of writing a novel and a good story coming to life. It (the story) sometimes knows better than the author what should happen next or which fork in the road to take.
Right now, in outline form I actually have two different plot lines the story could follow towards the end. Some days I lean towards one direction and other days I am sure the other direction would be best (and more exciting.) I very much look forward to figuring that part out in coming weeks.
I am also very grateful for the support and guidance from my editor, Angela. She has my draft outline right now and we’ll talk tomorrow to make tweaks and improvements. She’s weigh in on which direction the story should take. And so far, she’s been the one to question what I write, remind me not to make it all perfect the first time around (as if I could!), encourage me to keep going, and challenge me to think differently when I need to.
The next part of the journey will be transforming it from just an outline to a real story. I for one can’t wait!