If, for whatever reason (or weak excuse), I end up having to put the writing aside for a while, the story is waiting for me when I get back. I don’t have to remember where I was at in the story, or where it was all heading, or why character A is cranky with character B, or anything. It’s all right there, in the outline.
This aspect of outlining has proven to be very useful over the years.
- My first (and still unpublished) novel, Threads, I wrote in spits and gushes from 2003 through 2005 (while I worked on The Journal 4, wrote my co-authored nonfiction book, Serious Games, and struggled with the whole “writer thing”).
- I wrote the first 54,000 words of The Girl Who Ran With Horses in 2007, then the novel had to wait over 2 years for its ending (we moved, I launched the project that became The Journal 5, and was still struggling with that whole “writer thing”).
- A similar fate befell Gunwith: A Tale of the King’s Coven. I wrote the first 60,000 words or so in a rush in late 2007, then put the book aside for 3 years before finishing it in another rush in early 2011 (The Journal 5 project, which stretched from 2007 through 2009, was a big culprit here, as well).
- Gunwitch2, due out soon, suffered a 4-month gap in the middle of writing it (The Journal 6; are you spotting a theme?).
In fact, so far, the only novels I wrote in single, continuous blocks of writing (though with weekends off) were The Door to the Sky and The Summoning Fire. Both of those were written in 2006, one in September, the other in November. New Fairy Moon was written across three months in 2011, but with only a week lost to “stuff”, so it makes this list.
I don’t always drop the ball, but when I do, I can remember where I left it. Because of my outline.