What is your general outlining process when preparing to write one of your novels?
Okay, yeah good question. Like i said, i'm working on revamping that right now, so that's part of what i'm talking about when i say i'm trying to change to process, so what i'm trying to do cos...okay...so for Underlord, i wrote an outline of it and then i was going to sit on it and focus on Kings and Killers, so i wrote an outline for it last June, or something like that, like June or July. Then i went to work on King and Killers, and i was just going to sit on the outline. Then i came back to it and i felt that everything was wrong, like it was terrible. So then i wrote another outline, and i sat on it for a long time, then i got back to it and i was like okay, i could write this, i know that the cradle books take me a couple of months to write so i'll....its been a long time working on Kings and Killers, let me get back to Underlord, and i was actually trying to write the book, and i got back to it and i wrote the outline again. I'm redoing my ideas too much, i'm undoing my work too much, and the funny thing was, it turned out, the final thing I landed on was almost identical to my original outline. I'd taken it through 3 or 4 long extensive revisions, and I ended up just ending up at the first outline. With that in mind, when i really do an outline, especially a series i'm already familiar with, is i take the general concept of the book, so i've got something about this book that i like; so Ghostwater of course was, i knew i needed to get Lindon up to par with the really good people of his generation, like he needed to be able to fight alongside with Yerin. So therefore I needed to power him up, so i thought okay, whats a cool setting in which he could power up, and i really love underwater settings so i did a crumbling underwater world and then i was like okay so now who are the other people, and i thought other people there that are trying to power up!
So I just brainstormed on that for a while and thought of cool concepts. That's the fun part of the outline, so i get to think of all the cool stuff that i think could go in there, and originally when i designed Ghostwater it had nine different levels and nine different wells each of which had a different aspect, and each floor of the tower; it was a tower but still still in a separate world. It was a tower because you got deeper and deeper, you went down, and so each one was a different level of the ocean, and so they had different ocean biomes, so there was a coral one and a whatever. So each one had a different survival element too, as they went down, but that was way too much, i knew that that book would be a million words long. So i knew i'd have to condense that, it was way too much. So i therefore had to go now i have to get this into plot structure, i have to go okay so what is this that's going to be.....traditional plot structure, i'm not going to explain that here, you probably already know that, but you can also look it up. So i had to make sure that it fit into the three acts and all that jazz. So then i started trying to do that and i came up with the first draft of the story, and then i had to come up with the personalities for the other people, the enemies, the antagonists. I ended up going through a lot of possible people he could have been fighting in Ghostwater. Then I had to go do character arcs for, so Lindon, what did he learning, what does he learn at the end that he didn't know at the beginning, and Yerin and Mercy as well, all the main characters. At that point I've developed kind of an outline, and write from there.
The problem is, and this is the reason i started explaining my revision, what i'm learning first. The problem is that a lot of times i then dont stick with that outline, i use it as a jumping off point, and then kind of develop it on the fly as i go, and that i think, i think i end up working less efficiently that way. So that's my process.