I'll begin with some disappointing news. This past week I heard back from Leucrota Press, the fantasy/sci fi publisher that's had my manuscript, In the Seventeenth Year, under consideration for over a year. They emailed a rejection, but it came with some very encouraging comments and a helpful critique, which I am immensely grateful for. I plan to make the changes they suggested and continue submitting In the Seventeenth Year.
In the meantime, I'm still working hard on Killing Kessler. As I mentioned last week, I received some excellent constructive criticism and have been revising accordingly. Some of these comments were far-reaching and required major plot changes, so now I find myself rewriting almost the entire second half of the book. I'm trying something new as I do this, sort of an experiment. I'm writing as I go along without having everything planned out in advance -- flying by the seat of my pants you might even say.
I'm a planner, not just in writing but in all areas of my life. When I begin a new book, I spend at least a month creating a detailed outline, character biographies, setting sketches, and just about anything else I can think of that might help keep me on track. But I purposely did not plan this rewrite. I knew what needed to change, and I just dug in and started making it happen.
Of course it's all slop at the moment, as my first drafts always are. But some interesting things are happening now, things I didn't plan for. It's kind of fun this way: even I don't know what's coming next. My characters are getting themselves into all sorts of situations I didn't see coming. There have been times when I did not know what a character would do next until my fingers typed the words. I've heard about people who write this way, but I never thought I, with all my organization and planning tendencies, could be one of them.
Like I said, I'm in the rough draft "slop" stage right now. I really don't know how it will turn out. I may revise and find I can't use a word of it. I may write myself into a corner and not know how to get out. I may end up with so many loose ends that I can never tie them together. I suppose, even if those things happen, that I'll have learned and grown as a writer, and that's always worth the effort. I'll let you know sometime (soon, I hope!) hope my experiment works out.
So now I'm wondering about the rest of your writers, artists, etc. out there. Do you prepare a detailed outline in advance, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? I've heard of successful writers in both camps. Have you found any pros or cons that you could share?
Until next Sunday, happy writing, and may your coffee pot never run dry.