More and More Words

I went well beyond 350 words today...I wrote 1,000!

I also took out two index cards, deep sixing a character who had nothing to do with the plot (Jackie's grandmother). I'd originally written her into it, expecting her to move the plot along, but after rethinking things, I realized I was just trying to shoehorn her in (I'll make it fit! ;-)). Not a good idea. All your characters, whether major or minor, have to contribute something, or out the window they should go.

I also decided to make Jackie's mom snarky and pushy (in what I hope is a funny way). I might have to do a re-write of the Alzheimer's, but I may introduce it at some later point in the story. Or maybe I'll hang it on another character. That's part of the fun of writing fiction: You can do pretty much whatever you want to your characters--as long as the story holds together.

Will the story hold together? Well, I'm not going to wait until the very end to decide. I'll take a step back around Chapter 3 or 4 and see if the story is coherent or confusing. If the latter, I may put back my original intent.

And thus the beauty of outlining--especially using index cards. If I don't like the way the story's headed, no problem, yank out a card, write something else. And I can rearrange scenes, too, if the need arises. Another good thing is that if I'm looking for something, I'll be able to track it down a little bit easier than in the past. I certainly don't want to spend half an hour trying to see where the heck I put the scene about so-and-so, a minor character.

Outlining By Spreadsheet

If you prefer an electronic version of outlining (as opposed to using index cards), there's an excellent one over at Sydney Laine Allen's website. She's a romance writer, and she takes you step-by-step through it so you can set up the spreadsheet on your own.

Or you can email her and get it already formatted.

I'm not exactly a Luddite (ask my hubby), but I like using the index cards. I can take them with me and jot down anything that hits my brain; I can't do that with electronic stuff as I don't have a notebook computer or a PDA. And I'm not interested in getting either right now.

Keep writing!


MTV said...

The thing that is so great about index cards is no batteries and if in ink they're fairly permanent! They can be changed in an instant without turning them on and they don't need to be trained to *read* your writing so it can be *stored*.

I have a recent laptop AND a PDA and travel all the time with 3-7 index cards and a pencil or pen in my shirt pocket.

Yeah - I think paring down your story is a good thing. This way you can focus on the central story and allow the remaining relationships to enhance your story.

I have quite extensive experience with Alzheimer's.

Even though Jackie's mom is slipping into Alzheimer's and is snarky you can have her at some point actually assist Jackie at a critical time, for instance. Alzheimer patients have some very lucid moments - sometimes so lucid that they go beyond space and time. That is why sometimes people are spooked by them.

I'm enjoying your blog and if anything I say is distracting - let me know.

I like the scope of your story and hopefully, you'll go way beyond what's been done before.

I hate cliches but this reminds me of *Bridget Jones* meets the *Mummy* through *Cujo* or something like it - except of course with cats.

How you develop the Jackie character should be fun. I see her as sort of a Bridget Jones type. If you hit that note many will be able to relate to her and then be drawn into the whole feral curse thing.

~Nancy said...


Hmm...that's an interesting idea about having her assist Jackie at a critical time.

I hadn't thought of that, but I'll write it in my notebook. As I'm nowhere near revising, it's good to jot these things down, whether they're used or not.


~Nancy said...


BTW, I don't find your posts distracting in the least. You've brought up some good points and ideas - certainly nothing wrong with that.