I’ve been at it for close to two hours and I did another 1,600 words of the detailed outline for the novel. I’ve now have 13 chapters outlined in detail (out of about 33) and the total wordage stands at about 3,000 words. At this rate, the outline for the novel will be around 8,000 words. This doesn’t help me much in terms of getting the outline condensed down to 700 words for the application to Viable Paradise, and I am really beginning to wonder what to do.
I have three good chapters that I want to submit (of the 10 or so chapters I’ve written thus far) that make up the first part of the story. These chapters total 7,300 words. The submissions allows for up to 8,000 words, including outlines if a portion of a novel is being submitted. That means I have to condense down what will be an 8,000 word outline into 700 words. I wonder if it is even possible to condense it down that much and have it make sense. It essentially becomes two sentences per chapter.
I have a few thoughts:
1. Submit just a bare-bones outline/synopsis that comes in at 700 words.
2. Submit a more detailed outline for Part I of the novel (there are three parts) and a very rough outline for the remaining parts.
3. Do #1 and indicate that I have a more detailed outline that is available to the workshop if people find it useful.
4. Give up on submitting the novel and submit two short stories instead.
I’d really rather submit the novel. I’ve never even attempted to write a novel before and it is incredibly challenging to me. In fact, everyday I am more amazed at people who have written novels. At conventions and in writing groups, I have talked to people who have claimed to have written 10 or 12 novels. I don’t know how they do it. It’s hard work, much harder than writing short stories. But that’s the challenge, right? And I suppose for people who only write novels, writing short stories might seem difficult. It makes me think of back when I was flying. I learned to fly at a controlled airport, and I was always nervous flying into an airport that was uncontrolled, that is, didn’t have a control tower. I’ve heard that people who learned to fly at uncontrolled airports were often nervous flying into controlled airspace. For me, it’s writing at length, and yet making the characters and plot complex enough to keep the reader interested. Much, much harder than a short story.
If anyone has suggestions for my dilemma, I’d be glad to hear them. In the meantime, I’m taking a break on the outline for the evening and turning my attention (at least for a little while) to a short story.