After writing 10,000 words of my new draft Reckoning of the Gods: Heretic, I realized something: this feels wrong. Part of the joy of writing for me was discovering the story as I wrote it (aka discovery writing), but now that’s gone.
For my previous drafts, I would start with a rough idea of where I wanted the story to go, but I rarely had a plan beyond Act 1. This led to lots of loose ends and plots that went nowhere. Granted, this is a valid way of writing for some (hell, Stephen King does something similar), but I would usually get stuck around page 100, give up, and start all over again with a blank slate.
With a fully developed outline, I don’t feel the same anticipation, the same sense of wonder when I write. I know what’s going to happen next. That’s the trade off.
Fortunately, using an outline means that if I’m not completely happy with a chapter that I’ve just written, it’s no big deal; I can always come back. Whereas with discovery writing, you’re laying the tracks right in front of the train so if something doesn’t work, the train is de-railed, and you need to fix whatever’s wrong before you can continue.
The other thing that’s bothering me is the actual writing. With a full outline, I assumed that I would hit the ground running, but I’m at more of a fast walk than a full run. I’ve been able to hit around 1,000 words an hour, but that’s not exactly fast. Granted, I’ve mainly been working on the story during my lunchtime at work, but I assumed the words would flow more freely.
Then again, it has been three years since I touched this story.
This journey has already taken nine years, and I’m realizing that it’s far from over. This terrifies me as much as it excites me. There’s still so much left to do that I have to remind myself of how far I’ve come. It’s painfully obvious to me that my old methods didn’t work so my hope is that this approach will yield better results aka a better story. I’ve noticed just within the last week that writing is becoming easier so I’m hopeful that I’ll be back to my 2,000 to 3,000 daily word count like the good old days.
Then again, the good old days are overrated. I know that I’m a stronger, more confident writer than I was years ago, so who’s to the best days aren’t ahead?