Thursday, September 24, 2009

On the road again: San Francisco, day 7

People who learn that I outline my novels frequently ask if things change between the outline and the final book. The answer is always "yes," but sometimes, it's more like, "Oh, hell, yeah!" This is one of those times.

For the section of Children No More that I'm writing currently, my outline is rather vague. It simply instructs me to write several types of events in a logical procession building up to a certain key moment. I've lived with this story in my head for a long time, so I assumed that choosing the right events to show in the book would be easy.

Boy, was I wrong.

As I knew intellectually but had not internalized, a great deal happens in this part of the story, in part because this section takes place over a couple of months. Most of what happens is boring and routine and so not anything I want to put in the novel. I also do not, however, want to include only the moments of high drama; that feels false. Picking the right scenes, the stretches of action that are relatively routine but that also contain exactly the right moments of action and of character change, is a tricky proposition. I think I'm doing it reasonably well, and I'm happy with the results so far (well, to be accurate, I'm as happy with them as I can be at this stage in a novel), but the work is not easy.

Of course, how easy or hard the work is should not matter to anyone but me. What matters is the end product, the quality of the book.

I am on the road, so I should comment on my time here, but like parts of any story, today so far has not provided much of interest to others. It's been all work so far--interesting work, but work nonetheless--and though tonight should contain some fun events, they haven't occurred yet. So, for now I leave you with those thoughts about CNM, and tomorrow I'll report on this evening's upcoming festivities.

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