Oh, Chapter 4.
This was the week that I discovered outlines don’t fix everything.
Seven days on one chapter, people. Three rewrites. Not revisions. Rewrites, from top to bottom.
Three very different answers to that one little line on my magic outline. Three correct answers, technically, but only one of them was right for the novel, and it took all week to hammer it out.
Maybe my outline isn’t specific enough. Maybe instead of, “Push and pull, Hal tries to come to terms with Ellen’s pregnancy and to temper his fears in light of her happiness,” I should have planned the specific meetings, conversations, settings, that would bear that out.
But could I have? At that point, before writing, so far removed from where the characters and dialogue would play out, how could I have known the specific locations and conversations that would come into play? I’m not talented enough to see that far ahead without writing through it. Three times, in this case.
But, but, but… The magic of the outline is in the fact that, even though I wrestled my text for a week, trying to get it right, I’m not discouraged. I don’t feel like giving up. Not in the slightest way. Because I have another prompt to tackle tomorrow, for Chapter 5. And Chapter 4 has led me to the specific settings and the dialogues I need to answer it.
My outline keeps motivating me, and I get to tweak it into a little more detail, chapter by chapter, as I go.