Outline Schmoutline

Hi there! It’s been an exciting week in my little corner of the world, with the release of my first book, the paranormal romance novella Tribute. (See my last post if you’re interested in a free copy from Smashwords.) I’ve had a lot of fun talking to folks about this project this week.

The book I’m writing, however… I have yet to get into the flow. I wrote a solid outline, but I’m struggling with every scene, and it’s bringing up doubts. Did I start the book at the right point in time? Why are my characters feeling so flat? Was I cut out to write fantasy at all?

This last question comes after releasing a paranormal romance. When I started writing it was fantasy… but I have yet to finish a fantasy book (and I’ve started five over the last several years). I still see potential in each of these projects, but they are so hard. The paranormal romance Tribute and the sequel Vessel, however, were so much fun to write. And I’m hearing folks are enjoying Tribute and waiting for Vessel.

Yesterday, after struggling to put in another 1,500 words on the urban fantasy this week, I started to wonder if I aught to switch gears and get back to the paranormal romance series. Or maybe sneak that work in on the side just to boost my confidence? (On the side? Where would that be?) Right now I’m spending my precious writing moments staring at a cursor and wincing a lot. So much for my outline, schmoutline.

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series. You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit jrpearsenelson.com.

8 comments on “Outline Schmoutline

  1. Ha! Outline Schmoutline……this is by far my favorite ROW80 post header for this check-in! It captures the sentiments exactly and adds a laugh.

    I’ve never written anything in the fantasy genre, so I can’t offer any help at all. Sorry πŸ™‚ I hope your way becomes clear over this next week.

    ~ Nadja

  2. Thanks, Nadja. Glad I made you laugh. This post was ridiculously whiny. Since I made it I’ve written another 500 words on the urban fantasy, mostly outlining the next bunch of scenes in more detail. So that’s 2,000 words on Queen of Peace this week, and the outlining will help me be more productive these next couple of weeks. Plus, I published a book on Tuesday! Is it a writer thing to be down on ourselves even when we’re accomplishing a lot? Or is that just me?

  3. Is there a way to rework what you’re writing right now into a paranormal romance without scrapping too much of it?

    I mean, if it’s really painful to write it, and there’s a track record of abandoned ideas, maybe it’s best if you rework it as a paranormal romance.

    I’m about halfway through Tribute, and the writing in it is very strong and comfortable, like you were in your groove when you were writing it. If that’s what works for you, maybe that’s what you should work with at the moment. But in the end, it’s what you want. (:

  4. Congratulations on the release of your book! It must be very exciting!

    I too struggled with the start of my WIP, I think I started it in the wrong place so am going to purge out the words and try and deal with that a bit later. I will still need the same scenes, just maybe in a different order!

    Hope it starts to flow for you this week!

  5. Marlena, my husband actually asked me the same thing a couple of months ago, when I was struggling with the outline. And actually, it might be possible, except that the story is centered on s sibling relationship already… and I worry developing the romance will take away from the POV character’s bad-ass strength on her own, and with her twin. Although maybe developing the romance will help balance the twin in the story, and make it more about the main character as an individual. I shall ponder your wise words. πŸ™‚

  6. never tried either of your genre – maybe time out will enable you to work something out – are yyou back writing too soon after the publication – maybe your mind needs space to let ideas stew a bit

    whatever all the best for this coming week

  7. Well, I have two ideas for you. πŸ™‚ I’m also an outliner. I ran into a similar problem on my current debut novel after writing about 10K words, I just didn’t want to write anymore. Couldn’t understand it. It was like nails on chalkboard to sit and write. After taking a week or two away from it, when I came back to it, I overhauled my outline. I mean I wrote every scene idea I could think of, including out there captured by aliens types of scene idea, on a notecard. Then I gave my hubby the kids for an evening, sat with a big bulletin board and put them up, rearranging them, etc. Then I identified my 3 crises, and a few turning point scenes to make sure my pacing could ebb and flow. My outline went through one more overhaul at about 30,000 when I realized I just had WAY too much fat in the middle and the story went on a diet. LOL.

    So idea one, maybe your outline needs an overhaul.

    Another issue I had while writing was the idea of genre. Listen, readers didn’t make those up. Sales people did. Write the story in your heart, if it’s a piece with elements of both paranormal romance/urban fantasy who cares? Readers like well-written innovation. If it makes you feel any better, I’m writing a chick-lit type romance from a guy’s point of view NOT taking place in NY. Yeah. πŸ™‚ If I can do it, so can you!

    And I cry bumpkiss on this whole suffer through it and write everyday. Give yourself 30 minutes to write as much as you can and then set it aside for your other project. Time to write is so precious, no point in staring at a cursor…

  8. One of the things I loved about Tribute is how well you did the love scenes. So maybe paranormal romance is the genre you’re most comfortable in. Only you can decide if you can finish those fantasies without it feeling like a chore. I also agree with Elizabeth about genres. Try writing without really calling it anything and see what happens. Put more romance in the fantasies and see if that makes them easier to write. There are so many possibilities!

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