Time to just put it on the table. Where am I in the writing process in quantifiable terms? This is what I have-
*An initial outline with a few sentences for each chapter that were placed on notecards.
*A character and location list with descriptions, also placed on notecards.
*A document explaining the “science”/”technology” in my story.
*50-60 double spaced pages (a first stab at my story that is now serving more as a guide than as actual survivable text for the finished product)
*A detailed 13 page single-spaced outline where each chapter gets a few paragraphs.
*A second draft of the detailed outline, which I have 6 pages done so far.
After the second draft of the outline I will be asking for feedback, probably from my brother. I’m saving certain friends for feedback on the actual text once it is written.
All of these steps have helped me uncover what this story really is. For me, it always feels right when I link something together for the first time, like it was always meant to be that way. I just had to take some time to get there. For example, in chapter 3 I had a character who interacted with my main character, but he seemed random. I knew I wanted him there, but I couldn’t explain his overall purpose and I considered taking him out. Once I finished my first detailed outline, an event in the last third of my book finally revealed his purpose. And he is very much needed. He sets up an entire plot turn. For now.
On another note, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Why it was so great:
-The stakes went as high as humanly or “non-humanly” possible. Seriously, impressive. You can’t raise stakes any higher than that.
-Card spent a lot of time focusing on actions so when emotion came through it felt well-balanced and authentic.
-He got right to the point. The opening goes by very quickly and the rules of the world are set up equally fast.
-I will say that for me, it was hard to picture a lot of the battles while at battle school. I got the null gravity thing, but just the way it was described couldn’t stick in my head very well. I have a version in my mind and that’s fine. It didn’t really stop me from enjoying those chapters, which is the overall point.
-Beside the big plot turn that affects everyone in the story, I was equally impressed with the smaller plot twist that revealed more of Ender’s character specifically, regarding the two fights he had with the two boys throughout the story. I won’t just blurt it out, in case someone now wants to read the book…
-The story kept getting stronger and stronger with its final act creating a huge pay off. Not all stories can deliver that.
-Card created internet discussion boards and chat rooms, pretty cool.
-The book was in third person unlimited and I don’t see that very often. It was successful in that it depicted many perspectives while still retaining a single, strong voice in its main character. And also, if I recall, Card also mixed some first-person observations in there as well, proving once again that rules are made to be broken…
-A children’s book that is really an adult book. I like that.