Thursday, May 28, 2009

Plot changes

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wrote a synopsis for Guardian - Shadows and Dust (my new title for The Guardians) before I began writing the actual novel. I'm now several days into the novel, things are going nicely, and I decided I want to try to plan this one out more than I did Jack O'Lantern.

Except that's not accurate, because Jack O'Lantern was completely unplanned from day one. But still, the point stands that I wanted to do more planning. In the case of S&D, I have a rough idea of how long I want the first draft to be: about 100,000 words. Since I've already created a structure for this book in my mind, I figured I'd write out an outline for the three main sections, along with word count goals for each section. The sections of the book as planned:

I. Novice
II. Squire
III. Guardian

So I started the outline, and of course, the early stuff is the most fleshed out, because some of it's already written, and what isn't will be soon. Before long, I realized that I needed to add another section to the book:

I. Novice
II. Squire
III. Wanderer
IV. Guardian

I finished my outline for the first two sections, and in doing so changed a good portion of the plot. My synopsis was suddenly outdated, and I realized again that my sections weren't well designed. And hence another revision:

I. Novice
II. Squire
III. Slave
IV. Servant
V. Guardian

That's where I stand now. The first two sections are fairly well outlined, the final three not at all. The plot details have changed dramatically from the synopsis, although the overall plot and theme have not. I still know where the story is going, and the basics of how I want it to get there, but the middle two sections are the least fleshed out. It's not a coincidence, since they're also the newest. But as I looked back at my now old synopsis, I noticed that the parts I changed the most - the middle sections - are what I planned the least. It was at this point in the synopsis where I just wrote down the overall arc of what would happen, rather than the details.

The ending hasn't changed one iota, however. One thing that's been consistent in my writing so far is that I don't start a story without knowing how it will end. Jack O'Lantern is the only exception, and that's because it was for NaNoWriMo, and I had no idea what it had in store for me.

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