After a dozen poor starts on The Superhero Murders, I decided to go a more traditional route with an outline and a plan. But is there such a thing as too much planning?
Some writers scorn plans altogether. Just like Stephen King mentions in On Writing, they begin with a scene and some interesting characters, and then just write onward to see where it all goes. Some begin with even less than that. I've heard writer describe beginning with just a sentence. And in truth, I've done all that before myself and there's nothing wrong with it. Some of my best writing began that way, but when it came to my my work in progress, no luck. (I'll save the outline vs. seat-of-the-pants discussion for another time, thanks.)
Now, after some thought and work, I have an outline. I'm in the process of transferring it from scratched-out notes over to Scrivener now, but I find myself daunted. I begin to fret over exactly how the scenes and arcs will tie together in detail. All important, but where is the line? At what point do I just write? I mean, I have a good idea of the arcs, critical incidents and ending, plus lots of filler between all that. I have a good idea of the motivations and where they came from. So why not? Too much planning might create boredom, and cleaning up the details comes in the editing, right?
On the other hand, perhaps I should take the time. While ironing out all the details and perfecting the throughlines, I could work on short stories. Do that until I feel truly ready, and then write away.
The truth is that this book will probably fall into the million words of practice that so many authors talk about. Not only that, but I need this sucker to be out of my head. Even if a hastily written first draft sits on my hard drive gathering dust, it will be good to move on after all this time.
For that reason, I think I'm going to bite the bullet (after I finish moving the outline over to the digital world). I'm just going to use the outline as-as, refine it as I go, and press forward.
I should have a backup plan in case that fails. Maybe I'll work on that as I go too.
Writer of speculative fiction. Current work in progress is an untitled dark fantasy novella.