I’m in the midst of a new story now. My usual technique, discovery writing, has left me with three novels in the trunk with only two that have a solid enough foundation to re-rewrite into something viable. This time I’ve tried something  a bit different. Ideas swirl around in my head all the time, and I’ve had a couple of characters that I have the voices for, but haven’t been able to stick into a story. I’ve discovery-written with both of them over the last few months, but kept dead-ending after a few thousand words; the stories didn’t go anywhere interesting.

Enter the shower (I believe I don’t actually have male pattern baldness. I believe I get stuck on ideas while showering, and proceed to rub the hair right off my head). I had an Archimedean moment a few days ago: towel wrapped around my waist, still dripping, office curtains pulled for modesty’s sake (big picture window right next to my computer chair), I pounded out a rough four-page outline for a story that combines both of my characters in a satisfying way, saves some of the groundwork that had come before – including a fairly well realized civilization – and gives me a way to extend the story into more than one book. Go the shower!

I’ve never really followed an outline though, so it concerns me a bit. Will I get bored with the process, since I already know how it’s going to end? I don’t know. I hope not though.



For the interested, here’s some info about the three novels in the trunk. Two of the stories stand up to re-reading (at least by me), but need enough polish that I’ll likely abandon them: one time-travel SF/mystery set along Hadrian’s Wall, the other a “Hunt for Nazi gold” thriller with some spectacularly cheesy dialogue but some decent (so says I) action sequences. I just looked at number three and half the chapters have zero bytes. I don’t know how I feel about that. I admit that it is an auto-biographical piece of dreck written more to quell old ghosts and to get my hands moving, but still, I wrote it, dammit! I’m not terribly worried, though, it’s backed up somewhere.