Monday, December 30, 2002

I finally completed the first draft of the story whose ending has had me in knots for months now, and I am already on to the next one. There is an interesting "contrast of processes" in play here: on the last story, I knew the beginning but had no idea how it would turn out, whereas on this new story I know the last scene but have no idea how the story gets there. This is usually how things play out in my writing; I simply cannot use an outline, finding them too restrictive and ultimately useless when halfway through the work I realize that there's a new path the thing can take that I like a lot better than the outline.

But then, I also suspect my distaste for outlines for my inability to "write short"; perhaps it's the lack of a plan that results in a lot of meandering that pushes the word-count to higher-than-publishable levels. I do tend to be a fairly malevolent editor of my own work, never excising less than ten percent of my material when I produce my second draft (and sometimes a lot more). That means that assuming that the word count on my first draft of the just-completed story is around 15,000 words (a guesstimate based on the number of pages covered by my scrawling), I plan to cut at least 1,500 words and hopefully more.

The last story, as noted, was about beer. The new one? It's about baseball.

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