The Long Road, a novel

For about a month now, I’ve been outlining a script with the working title The Long Road.  The story is set in a small Northern California town, and focuses on police corruption and murder.  However, I’ve recently gotten back into the world of novel writing, and as it will be at least a couple years before I can get the script produced (either by myself or others), I’ve decided to take a crack at this story in novel form.  It may completely fall apart in this manner, or it may truly thrive.

Either way, I’m setting pen to paper (figuratively) and trying my hand.  The outline is almost done.  After a few cups of coffee and a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats sans milk, I’m close to the second turning point, which will lead into the third act.  This will be the first novel I’ve ever thoroughly outlined (second novel written), though the outline was somewhat accidental in that I didn’t intend for it to be a novel.  I’m hoping this will streamline the writing process, or at least prevent writer’s block from delaying me.

As I said in parenthesis above, this will be the second novel I’ve written.  The first I wrote when I was about 14 years old.  That was a fantasy epic that, while cliche, was actually well-written in my opinion.  Unfortunately, I lost it to a computer crash about a year after I finished it.  Don’t blame me for not backing it up – I was 14!  But you win and lose, and ultimately I’m not really sad that I lost the novel (about 2 years’ work).  It would be nice to have still, but mostly as a memory and less as something to work on.  The story was kind of a lame version of every fantasy book I’d read or movie I’d watched (mainly The Lord of the Rings and Eragon which were two big inspirations at the time).

On the topic of outlining, is that common among novel writers?  I know many of you prefer to “just write,” but how far do you get before you have to map out where you’re going?  Or do you start cold with an outline (detailed or rough?) and wait till it’s finished to set down the first word of your book?  As a side-note (you’ll find lots of side-notes in my posts, as well as lots of parentheses), when I talk of novels I’m also referring to novellas, novellettes, any work of literary prose really.

Michael Traven

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