I've found many times that by the time I reach chapter twelve, my outline is pretty much mush. Other than the main direction, the specific action I envisioned is obsolete.
My characters take me in their logical direction. And I'm good with that.
But the outline gave me two things I couldn't live without.
I've learned I have to know the theme of my story before I can even get a reasonable opening line, one that represents the novel for the reader.
With the theme explored during the outline, the narrative between the action and dialogue becomes consistent in purpose and texture.
Sure, it makes sense that in some genres, where actions that drive the plot are supposed to be a mystery, the characters must do some weaving about.
But I've learned from studying the novels I enjoy that the plot has to have a single focus. There can be a half-dozen sub-plots, but that story line I start in chapter one and wrap up in chapter fifty-two is the underlying drama of my novels.
My action may veer from my outline after Act I, but I know how my protagonist will end up.
I've mentioned I plan to self-publish--I think--maybe--sometime.
I don't like surprises, so I've been researching and creating my expectations for the process. In this case, Kindle only. I've used about ten resources (I should have noted what came from where so I could note...but didn't expect to blog on the topic. But a fellow blogger encouraged me to, so...).
I'm not posting this as the Gospel truth. I'm offering it as a work plan.
For those of you who have gone through the process, If you'd like to give me updates, I'll gladly add your comments for those who follow us:
BLACK LAKE—WARLOCK APPRENTICE, a 79,000 word Fantasy
Reeling from his mother's death, father's desertion, missing his sisters, Paul has stewed long enough in the high peaks lair of the ogre dragon rider. The sixteen-year-old challenges the dangerous mountain to escape and search for his father, discovers northerners don't embrace strangers. It's a shock to learn ogres, trolls, orcs and dragons aren't the beasts he's been taught to fear. It may be his own kind—humans—present true danger.
The hamlet residents nurse Paul from near-death after his northern ordeal and offer him a home, as they already have his sisters. The local warlock, a healer, claims Paul can reach the ethereal. That's a surprise to Paul, but it explains the strange sensations he's been experiencing, the visions and emotions he senses, like those from the exhausted donkey. The warlock offers to apprentice him, but Paul hasn't even made it to the ogre's stake when a new life-threat emerges. The warlock is more than he knew, as is Paul, and the wizard council isn't ready to have more of their kind wielding the majic of the ethereal, especially an ogre and commoner from the Range.
The two join a wizard with his own problems with the council. They're drawn into a northern intrigue to murder the Black Lake dragons. The ancient queen dragon tells them they're fated to put down the plot. If they don't, the world faces genocide. Paul and Morgan flee a council death sentence, rogue wizards who hold Morgan's sweetheart hostage, a wizard conspiracy, and fickle dragons tempted to snack on them. Paul's majic must mature quickly if he's to survive.
WARLOCK APPRENTICE is my fourth novel in the BLACK LAKE series, and my nineteenth completed manuscript. I'm a full-time writer of lighter, speculative fiction, where the characters and relationships intrigue as richly as the atmosphere and plot.
Walks the man in the bar. Rips a shotgun the bartender under from the bar. Shouted, serve your kind in here we don't the bartender. Asks not why he. Read didn't you the sign? Serves we don't strings. Am but I a frayed knot.
You wouldn't speak like this, so why would you tag your dialog this way?
I close will a book when find I an author in with a mind the nineteenth century.
After a moment her eyes did that twitch like they failed to focus any longer. Her emotions swelled in a fashion that implied she might cry. Not something he'd expect from an ogre. They seemed tougher than the garden variety oak. The image of Ike pulling an arrow from his own back flashed through his mind. Stinking visions.
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