Typically, I don’t write an outline for a story or even the series.
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And most of the time I regret not creating at least a note section to work with.
What do I mean by that? Well for Leagende, the story is pretty lighthearted. From the beginning to the end, I never made a bonus note section. Weird, right? But they’re novellas with a lot of lacking information. So the stories could easily be kept organized in my head. Short stories are pretty easy to keep a straight line going. Limit the number of plots and characters and settings, then it doesn’t take much to keep track of everything. There isn’t a lot to keep track of.
It’s a completely different story when it comes to Modern Werewolves. The Secret of Pack 413, the Secret of Preshift, the Secret of Luna, and Alpha Protector are published or will be published soon. When I started the plan of publishing the series, I realized all my notes I made meant nothing. There are so many side plots and subplots and characters and world building that it was easy to screw up who and what and where and when. Such as in my first draft, I made the first few stories where Billy would have been several years older than Lucas. He would have been in Jason’s year really. Then a few stories later, I decided Billy and Lucas were in the same year.
I screwed up with Melissa’s timeline in it’s entirety. The births and growth just fell apart, but I kept going with my first drafts. The big plots are still there. The major series plot will continue as is. Generally anyway.
It’s a complete and utter mess. I know that. It doesn’t make the stories bad. But first drafts are allowed to be complete messes. I can’t publish that cesspool though.
That means I need to take time organizing my timeline and plotting and planning out what’s going on. And I am. I’m working through the mess. It’s just going to take some time. Without a push to do it, I’ll probably not get these books out as fast as I wish. It isn’t my ability to write it; I don’t wish to deal with the chaos and make it orderly. So ask me about my werewolves. Tell me to write the next book. Ask for an alpha copy or beta copy. You’ll get my fingers on the keyboard. Promise.
Another train wreck is Dragon Rider. If you’ve been keeping up on my posts, you’ll notice Dragon Rider has made it to the may be published soon category. The first drafts for sixth, seventh, and eighth grades didn’t need a lot of manipulation. Mostly because she’s in those grades. Writing from a middle school perspective meant she didn’t see everything. It became almost straightforward what needed to be written.
Then she got to ninth and high school. The original drafts are… weak. They aren’t written from a high schooler perspective. They need so much work. When I finished the final first draft (12th grade), I knew I had things missing. My plot points didn’t have endings when they were supposed to. So now, I’m going back and reworking the plot so they finish at 12th grade. Not that there isn’t a story to jump to afterwards, but Alpha Shifter is in the same world without being the same major plot. Rewriting Dragon Rider just like rewriting Modern Werewolves is difficult.
This is really the meaning behind the term Zeroth Draft. A zeroth draft is meant to be an expanded outline that looks like a story, but is missing key elements. These massive rewrites are basically another first draft now that I have the main points finalized. (I write a #zerothdraft often.)
It feels like writing a first draft. A real rewrite has me using dual screen. Half the screen shows me the old draft. Half the screen shows me the rewritten draft. I’m following the plot almost perfectly. Just certain things need expansion and others need deletion. I did this type of rewrite for Tsuba Ren, the first two Modern Werewolves, and the first three Dragon Rider books.
That doesn’t mean I will need a real rewrite on my zeroth draft rewrites. Rewrites are heavily suggested, but not required when working on edits. All rewrites need edits still. Final edits are simply basic proofreading. Rewrites are for fixing plot holes.
As much as I pants writing, I know the value of a notes section. I have note sections for most of my novels. That may be one of the clear ways for me to say this is a novel. My shorts may have a short notation reminding me of things, but a real novel needs a notes page.
Over the next few days I can post my notes page for my various novels. I cannot post the notes page for Modern Werewolves, since I am using an excel sheet set up for it.
Ask questions, make comments, or just tell me to write.
Notes are Required: Dragon Rider Notes
Notes are Required: Organization
Notes are Required: Teen Test Train
Notes are Required: Trigger
Notes are Required: Cyro’s Middling Adventure
Notes are Required 2
Notes are Required: Low Level Demons