Fiction. It's fiction. But it's fiction based on fact. There's two weeks to go until Noah squares off against someone hellbent on imitating Jack the Ripper, and while working on a few final things I stumbled across a picture I had taken when I was writing the first (or second or third) draft of the book and it made me chuckle so I figured I'd share it.
There's always a huge debate in every community about something or other. In writing, one of the big ones is whether or not to outline. I'll be frank - I hate outlining. I think it's annoying and I just don't like it. That being said, I can see where it has its benefits and I know plenty of writers who swear by it. Once again this highlights the key idea of: find what works for you and just do that. But, in order to keep some semblance of a coherent post let's just focus on the debate between writing with an outline and then just typing whatever words come into your head as you go.
That ridiculous mess you see in the picture is not an outline. In fact, if I had used an outline I probably could have avoided aforementioned ridiculous mess and spent a lot less time making sure everything made sense and a lot more time writing fresh words. It's not that I needed an outline for Jack Be Quick, I needed a calendar.
See, Jack the Ripper killed 5 women in Whitechapel London during the year 1888. I knew from the beginning that if I was going to have an antagonist who wanted nothing more than to be dear old Jack then I needed to have the dates in my book reflect the dates in real life. Well that's all fine and great until the other layers of the story start building. Events need to happen, plot twists (maybe) ; ) and a few other things, but they needed to happen at certain times and in ways that made sense. Hence, my scribbled calendar notes above. If I had used an outline, well, this calendar page would have been done before the book was drafted not during. My choice not to use an outline however led to an extensive rewrite of over half the novel. I don't consider that a bad thing though. Rewriting parts of the story allowed me to spend more time with it, which in turn allowed me to see things a little differently, and hopefully make them better. But, that is for you to decide.
And just a quick little note: thank you to those who have pre-ordered Jack Be Quick. Your enthusiasm is amazing and I love every bit of it. If you haven't and you're interested head over to this link: Jack Be Quick Pre-Order and do it. The good folks at Owl Hollow Press have some pretty slick bonuses up for grabs.
Until next time.