Outline Time . . . Trouble Already?

First, I don’t really know if that’s an Irish proverb.  Just liked the sound of it when looking for sleep quotes.  Why do I think this is what’s going to get a lot of comments?

The reason I went for this is because I started making the final outlines for my next series, Tales of the Slumberlord.  I’m not that far into it, but I want to get all 9 . . . 10 done before summer when I can dive into the real writing.  Be nice if I can get them all done by end of May too.  Then, I’ll use June to do a final editing of War of Nytefall: Anarchy.  That series has 2 more that I hope to publish this year.  Means 2022 will be a clean start.  I think.

You see, I’ve already run into a small problem:  Darwin Slepsnor.  This is my halfling caster who doesn’t understand his power, isn’t aware of the big picture, wants to help, and is totally different than my previous protagonists.  Luke Callindor was a true hero who set off to save others and had a logic you could follow.  Clyde was an anti-hero protecting his people with violence and you could follow his logic.  Both were able to come up with plans and strategize.  They were subtle at times . . .

Darwin isn’t any of that, which makes writing scenes difficult.

Darwin is prone to panicking when things catch him by surprise and he shouts his spells as he casts them.  This means fight scenes aren’t going to have a great flow.  Doesn’t help that he isn’t a warrior, so it’s more likely that he will be chased or he’ll be paired with a warrior who does the fighting.  That means my protagonist is kind of a sidekick, which goes with his role as someone who inadvertently changes destinies.  He asks questions all the time and can be very confusing in his logic, so there’s some of Lost, Bob, and Yola Biggs in his actions.  He’s not crazy, but he definitely sees the world differently and it’s hard to change his mind when he’s deciding on how things work.

And that’s what happens in the outlines.  Darwin stumbles into situations and through them because he’s an unpredictable entity.  You thought Luke Callindor was tough for enemies?  They would know he’d attack or leap off something at some point.  Darwin will pull out a spell or magic item to use in a bizarre way that changes the entire situation.  He’s a halfling too, so people forget about him in the heat of the moment.  He also doesn’t realize when his actions will kill or hurt an enemy, which increases the danger.  This is all in story, but it’s had a bizarre effect on the outlines.

Every book is starting with Darwin easing into a situation that is massive in scale and bigger than he could comprehend.  He’s with a new friend who needs his help and that’s what he’s there to do.  So, he ignores a lot of the nuanced pieces and barrels towards the main goal.  This has resulted in the stories hitting a point where the events come in quick succession until it’s over.  I tried to extend some of them, but that requires Darwin to think about doing something other than the main goal or use a less ‘black/white’ logic.  That’s not his character.

For example:

His friends are kidnapped and taken to an area.  He goes right there and heads for the first thing that catches his attention.  This sets off the next event and he runs into the following one out of panic.  All other characters with complicated plans are left wondering what went wrong until they see Darwin go barreling through the area.  Chaos ensues with his friends fighting to survive and him hurling spells to help while not understanding that the mess came from his actions.  Things still work out.

This is a simplification, but it shows that I can’t put a lot of thinking and planning on Darwin’s shoulders.  He’s not an idiot.  It’s just that his mind works differently than my previous heroes.  He’s curious with no fear of asking the big villains questions, which also results in him not realizing when he should be afraid.  Darwin is helpful and has no restraint on his use of magic.  He comes up with spontaneous answers to situations that nobody can see coming, but even his allies don’t get it.  This is coming out even in the outline, which makes me a little worried about how he’ll do as a protagonist.  He’s one of my Core Heroes too, so I’m not giving up on him.  Guess that’s why I’m nervous about it as well.

This took longer than I thought.  May have needed to vent.  Next month will be a title reveal at some point though.  Really proud of those.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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7 Responses to Outline Time . . . Trouble Already?

  1. It sounds like you are having a good time with Darwin. I think that is the best part about writing. The fact that it comes with outlining is a real bonus. Best wishes on the new series.

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  2. He sounds so different he could be a big winner for you. I already like the sound of him.

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  3. Man, can you crank out book after book after book after book after book after book after book. There’s a couple of guys in my writing group, like that.

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