this week in outlining

When I started working on my book, I didn't outline the big-picture stuff. I had my characters in mind, and a basic understanding of their setting and situation. It was exciting to be able to write scenes from a perspective of "what's the biggest possible wrench I can throw into their path at the moment?"

I think that got me to some really interesting places, and many of my favorite character moments came from those spontaneous decisions. There's a part of me that understands that there's no real reason why having an outline should keep me from running off in an unexpected direction. I've had difficulties veering away from planned plot twists though, so I tend to restrict my most detailed plans to backstory and world building.

Writing that way has led me into a few unfortunate cases of not knowing what comes next, but it's mostly worked out fairly well. The problem is that now, in the home stretch of the novel, I need to tie everything up. There are places the characters need to get to and things they've got to learn. I have to get them out of some of what I've inflicted on them and then show the consequences. Now, with the end finally in sight, I'm outlining more than the next couple of scenes.

In the past few days I've sketched out a rough idea of the remaining chapters and what they need to accomplish. That list is making me feel more confident in my ending, but I've still got to turn all my notes into actual story. And there's one final, harsh decision that I'm putting off until the last minute.

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