Almost time to change those gears…

Posted by Rob on 12th June 2015 in Writing |

So, at last, I have that Writers of the Future story polished and sent out for this quarter (hurrah!), which leaves me with a fair few stories still sitting around incomplete or in need of some spit and polish, but only two that I’m really keen to finish and send out in the near future. One has crept up into novelette territory, breaking eight thousand words, while the other’s a plain ol’ short story at about half that size–and it’s the second one that needs more work. Fortunately, both are mostly done, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get them both in shape.

And my real goal, ultimately, is to get them out the way — and then, gear up to concentrate on all that novel writing I haven’t been doing.

Vroom!Not the kind of gearing up I really meant, but so what — ain’t it pretty?

And it’s here where some of that outlining is going to come into its own. What I’m working on at the moment would be the third novel draft I’ve written — I finished one, extremely weak one back in 2002, and then another rather better one (but still not what I wanted from it) a few years ago. The latter of those two I’ve sidelined as being more of an exploration of the concept, mainly because I know I can do a lot more with the setting and premise I put together — I already know more than I did when I wrote it, and already have a fairly complex outline produced and printed out for what I hope will be much improved version.

In the meantime, I’m working on something different.

And that something different is something I’ve been working on for a while, and is something I still like, despite having worked on it for a while (which is quite unusual). And it actually HAD a solid outline, up to a point. But I’m now coming close to the point where that outline will be exhausted, and will get into the realm of “something like this has to happen” in my scribbled notes…

But I have the solution! Sitting just beyond my guide to poisons and my rhyming dictionary is a three-subject ruled notebook (I love these, why didn’t we have these in England?) with each of the three sections allocated to different things — the first for short-fiction ideas, with NOTES this time (my last notebook proved to be quite cryptic when I came back to it later, though that did spawn at least one decent story). The second is for short-story outlines. And the last is for outlines of bigger stories, such as this one.

I have outlined many stories on paper, and I really enjoy brainstorming the stories there. I can do a pretty good job of organising everything afterwards on the computer, and sometimes I even get a good story together — but I’m not as good at considering the storyline there. My best outlines are done either on paper, or lying in the dark and just mulling over the ideas. The PC is, I suppose, just too speedy an environment for the right level of consideration — or at least, it seems to be for me.

And soon enough, now, it’ll be time to shift gears — upwards, from short story to novel, and downwards, from PC to pen-and-paper. Let the outlining begin…


  • The Ould Git says:

    Sounds like you’re feeling more comfortable with your stuff, and getting ready to move onward and upward! Indeed, the outlining will be essential for novella / novel length efforts, as you say … and doing it on paper does help, I think. Trying to do it on a computer doesn’t give that ‘analogue’ attribute to the organisation and evolution that squiggly lines and arrows and scribbles do.
    I envy your ability to create a believable world and populate it with believable characters …. the short stories you’ve sent me in the past have all been good, if not to the tastes of the publishers you’ve sent them to.
    That there bike – do I detect a steampunk influence? That would suit your brain gears, I guess! The thing looks practical – is that a real bike, or a CAD rendering? They’re so good these days it’s hard to tell.
    Best of luck with those remaining short-term projects, and then launching into the deeper water of your novel!

    • Rob says:

      The bike, I’m not 100% sure, but where it’s been mentioned elsewhere the implication has been that it’s a real bike (the guy responsible does build these things, but I don’t know if he also pre-renders his concepts — he might).

      But yes, it’s a Steampunk bike — apparently, from, what I gather, called the “Black Widow”, and possibly inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Not quite sure I see the link there, but I do like it!

      And thanks for the godspeed, too. I’m looking forward to it all, and I keep rolling the ideas around in my head in preparation for sketching out my outlines — I solved a few issues in my sleep (happens more often than you’d think, both with work and with writing) and so I think I’ll be able to get one of the short pair properly finished today.

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