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No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy

This happens every time I write a novel. I get halfway to two-thirds through it, and I realize I’ve gone so far off my original outline I have to sit down and rewrite the outline again from that point on. Sometimes I have to go through it twice in a single book.

This isn’t a bad thing. As I write the book, I come to know the characters better, and the situations they’re in. Things happen I couldn’t have predicted when I wrote my first outline. It’s far better to flow with the new notions than to try to force myself along a path that’s not faithful to the story as it’s developing.

Still, when you’re writing under a deadline, the idea of having to stop so you can reassess where you are and where you want to be heading is frustrating. However, I’m confident that it always ends up being a better book than I could have hoped for at the start.

Comments 10

  1. Which book would that be for? The third in the Lost Mark series?

    Over half done with Road to Death. I really couldn’t put it down last night. Mostly due to great writing, some probably due to the Bud Energy I drank to late in the evening. 🙂 I Paid for that when the twins started stirring in the middle of the night. 🙂

  2. Which book would that be for? The third in the Lost Mark series?

    Over half done with Road to Death. I really couldn’t put it down last night. Mostly due to great writing, some probably due to the Bud Energy I drank to late in the evening. 🙂 I Paid for that when the twins started stirring in the middle of the night. 🙂

  3. Hi Wayne:

    Yeah, it’s The Queen of Death. Here I am on the home stretch, and I’m off to GTS next week, which bollixes it up again. I hope to polish it off soon after I get back though.

    I’m glad you like Road to Death. I do the exact same thing with my kids: stay up too late hoping they’ll sleep through the night. Last night I was up past midnight and they got up at 5:45 AM when one of them had to “go potty bad.” You don’t argue with statements like that though!

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    Author

    Hi Wayne:

    Yeah, it’s The Queen of Death. Here I am on the home stretch, and I’m off to GTS next week, which bollixes it up again. I hope to polish it off soon after I get back though.

    I’m glad you like Road to Death. I do the exact same thing with my kids: stay up too late hoping they’ll sleep through the night. Last night I was up past midnight and they got up at 5:45 AM when one of them had to “go potty bad.” You don’t argue with statements like that though!

  5. Definetly not. 🙂 Potty Bad is a worthwhile thing to wake up for. If we get ours to only wake up once during the night we’re doing good right now. Luckily the 3 year old sleeps good even through baby crying.

  6. Definetly not. 🙂 Potty Bad is a worthwhile thing to wake up for. If we get ours to only wake up once during the night we’re doing good right now. Luckily the 3 year old sleeps good even through baby crying.

  7. Hey Matt – you’re not alone! I don’t think I’ve ever done a novel that didn’t wander from the outline and find a new and scenic route to the conclusion.

    It’s good to know someone else is still finishing up their Eberron trilogy, too! 😉

    Enjoy yourself at GTS.

    Don

  8. Hey Matt – you’re not alone! I don’t think I’ve ever done a novel that didn’t wander from the outline and find a new and scenic route to the conclusion.

    It’s good to know someone else is still finishing up their Eberron trilogy, too! 😉

    Enjoy yourself at GTS.

    Don

  9. Glad to provide comfort, Don. 🙂 I remember chatting with Keith Baker at GTS last year. Both of us struggled with the second books. I’ve seen this happen lots of times with authors I’ve edited too. Of course, now we’re all just hoping to polish off the third!

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    Glad to provide comfort, Don. 🙂 I remember chatting with Keith Baker at GTS last year. Both of us struggled with the second books. I’ve seen this happen lots of times with authors I’ve edited too. Of course, now we’re all just hoping to polish off the third!

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