Today, I am doing something in my writing career that I have never done before. I…am creating an outline. Yup. A book outline. As in, writing down the scenes, the purposes of the scenes, the character goals and motivations, etc. Basically, I’m creating the most epic spreadsheet ever to break this book down into the minutest details.
Of course, I’ve already written the book, but that doesn’t make a difference, does it?
Seriously, I got tired (and my husband got tired) of me not believing in my own book–that is, the book that I’ve been shopping to agents for almost a year now. Every time I run across a book or an article or a conference talk that discusses how your story needs to have x, y, or z (usually three acts, and then divides what should be in those three acts exactly), I have a mild internal panic attack that varies between defensiveness of myself as a pantser rather than a plotter, and fear that my completed, edited twelve times, and then professionally edited book, might not actually have these various “required components of a good story” because I’ve never actually allowed myself to sit and think about it – just in case it doesn’t.
So, I have finally decided to face this absurd, crippling fear head-on. And write the most detailed book outline spreadsheet ever, and then break down my own book into bits and pieces so I finally understand it as well as my characters, and even my readers, seem to. I guess, worse case scenario, I don’t have an “essential” element, and I either drop it in a drawer, rewrite it, or just admit I don’t have it?
My hope is that, by actually forcing myself to break my book down into these terms everyone keeps using, I’ll actually be able to talk about it in a confident way instead of in an apologetic way.
Wish me luck, send me prayers, and face your own fears today!