Outlining The Rest of Airworld

I’ve not forgotten about Airworld. I’m outlining the remainder of the story. I find that I can only be a pantser up to a certain point (usually that point is about now, where the story needs to start moving toward a resolution), at which time I really have to sit down and figure out how to resolve things without using magical faery dust.

In this case it’s harder than I might have expected, because Airworld became  rather complex, and there are many threads flying about loose right now. I suppose this is why writers always advise you to know your ending before you start. It’s good advice, but extremely difficult for me. Unless you count something like, “Then they figured everything out. The end.”

Anyway, for those interested in the writing process, I started by writing a synopsis of the story so far, where I wrote roughly a paragraph covering each chapter. This was quite instructional in itself, because it’s the first time I’ve looked at an overhead view of the story since I started. I’ve already identified plenty of places to make revisions just from that.

After that I tried to identify the questions that were raised in each chapter and wrote those questions after the paragraph. I imagined each paragraph to be one of those old-time movie serials, where at the end the narrator says something like, “Will our hero find a way to get out of the boxcar before it plunges off the cliff? Tune in next week to find out!” And it would be in that old-timey over-excited radio voice where they speak ten times too fast. Mine aren’t that dramatic though – more like, “Will Naobi find the Council of Life?” or “Will Garath’s plan work?”

Through trial and error I’ve discovered that questions phrased to give simple yes/no answers seem to provide better focus on the plot. For example, “Will Cheton make it back to the group?” As opposed to, “How will Cheton deal with being separated from the group?” Questions with more open-ended answers leave me with too much room to make up new sections of plot, as opposed to writing along a pre-determined course.

After that I will make another pass through those questions and figure out which ones have already been answered, and which ones still need answers. That will hopefully inform the direction of the rest of the story.

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