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March 11, 2012
Posted at 1:11 pm

The Final (?) Outline

If you've been following my slightly bipolar postings over the past month as I've been writing "Model Studen," you know that I didn't intend it to be a novel when I started. Now that I've completed 14 chapters and have posted 7 (#8 tomorrow--Monday), I've taken some time to finish plotting out where this story is going to end up. Don't panic! It's not the end of the "story," just the end of this book in the story. I've already got several pages of plot outline for the next book!

In the process, I went back to re-read where the whole thing started. It was quickly obvious to me that when I was thinking this would be a short story, I compressed what could have been two or three chapters into each of the first four chapters of the book with Chapter 5 being the first chapter that I thought was appropriately paced for this work. So, there will be a rewrite and repost, and I promise that I'll be looking especially hard at these opening chapters to get everything in synch with the longer book.

I've outlined a total of 17 chapters of which 14 1/2 are written. With the work already over 105,000 words, I'm faced with a second problem. I write to publish and the acceptable length of a work for publication in this genre is between 65,000 and 85,000 words. So, I'm going to have to do one of two things (or a combination of them). Either I'll have to edit out about half the finished work in order to publish it, or I'll have to divide it into two books and hope I have a strong enough story conclusion for each that it holds together. If I do that, I guess that the natural stopping point for book one would be after Chapter 5. If I expanded chapters 1-4 to do them justice, that would bring me in right at the low side of the acceptable range. I'd still have to do significant cutting of the next twelve chapters in order to fit them down into the 85,000-word range, but I'm probably being a little self-indulgent in those chapters anyway.

As loyal SOL readers, you get to see the process raw. What I'm posting is only a generation removed from rough draft, and that only because of my two great volunteer editors, CJ and BlackIrish. Because of that, regardless of how the final project turns out, I will make sure that the finished version of the book is available on SOL so you won't feel that you need to buy the book in order to see how I revised it. (Though, of course, I'd love it if you ponied up the 99 cents to get the ebook and drove my sales up!)

Writing parts of the last several chapters has been alternatively exhausting and stimulating. As I launch into the last 2 1/2 chapters this afternoon, my heart is racing.