a reply to: christmaspig
I can relate to your problem. I have numerous books that I started over the years, but they became so convoluted that I just got so lost, I couldn't
finish them. For me, it was due to not having a thorough outline. Some people can get away with writing without one (like Stephen King), but not
Now, I had always written out an outline. Or, at least I thought I did. It was usually a rush job, because...well, I was so excited to start writing
the story! Little did I know, that there is a whole lot more to an outline than just jotting down your ideas and a rough plot. I spent over a month on
the outline for my first book, Bloodline. I found that for me, the key was to not rush it. I also had to research numerous aspects of the story,
because of all the historical, legend and conspiracy theories it included. (I wanted it to be as realistic as possible). On my last book, Descent, I
spent over three months on the outline. Seriously. This was partly due to my getting hit on the freeway and suffering from whiplash (so I couldn't
sit at the computer to write) but I thought about, dreamed and plotted for weeks. It wouldn't be anywhere near the story it is, if I hadn't done
that. Sure, I basically knew what was going to happen before I even started the outline, but by allowing myself time to dwell on it, it expanded,
morphed and grew into something much better.
I will share the website with you that I have been using for how to write a good outline:
Maybe I'm wrong, and you already know this stuff, but it was
a big surprise to me,and I was simply amazed at how it helped me.
I also researched the parameters for the genre. For example, depending on whether it's a romance, drama, action/adventure or scifi, determines what
the accepted length is. Of course, you can ignore the standard and do whatever you want, if you have no intentions of soliciting an agent...but there
is a reason why it's a standard. It's what the readers expect and look for. If you put out an adult fiction novel that's only 30,000 words, people
might read it but they certainly aren't going to want to pay much for it and they will complain if you try and pass it off as a novel, rather than a
short-story with a .99 cent price tag.
If you write a love story that is 150,000 words long...ugh. Good luck with that one. WAY too long. A publisher wouldn't even look at it. It would be
assumed that about half of it is unnecessary fluff (and they would probably be right).
I determined that I needed to keep it between 50,000 and 80,000 words for my first book in the young adult/scifi genre. Even more, I set a goal of
2,000 words per chapter. This is important for the genre, because of a short attention span. Readers of this genre expect a somewhat easy read, with
quick chapters. There's a lot more to it, but read through the link, it explains a lot.
I hope that this helps! If you are at the point with your story that you have various chapters written that don't seem to tie together,
honestly...you would probably be MUCH better off to re-do your outline so that it's more complete and you know how you are moving from one scene to
the next before you start....and re-write it. Because if YOU are confused, I guarantee you that your reader will be too and they won't finish the
book. It would be worth it!
Let me know if you have any other questions!