April Disinfectant Showers


I trust you’ve washed your hands. You haven’t? Go wash your hands – fingertips, backs of the knuckles, between your fingers. Lots of soap. Done that? Okay. 

Last time I updated you all on my progress, over here, we were at just under a million cases globally. We’re now past three million. It’s a scary number, but we started march with around 100 000, that went up to nearly a million. By that kind of monthly tenfold increase we should have ten million cases globally – we don’t, it’s just three. So. Good job everyone, you are washing your hands, staying indoors, and generally being responsible and wonderful. Thank you.

A lot of my work over this past month has focussed, yet again, on outlines. In the ‘peek over my shoulder’ in February, I talked about how I have different kinds of outlines – loose, working, and temporary. A loose outline to figure out the shape of the story, a working outline to figure out how I’m going to actually write it scene by scene, and a temporary outline for making notes while I’m in the writing process.

Well, I now need to add some more types of outline to the outline zoo. I’m not sure what to call them, but I’m in the middle of putting together outlines of very specific size and shape.

The first is around 4 000 words, and covers the events of the space opera as a series – which is really getting ahead of myself, but if I’m writing a space opera, it needs to be at least a couple of chunky books side by side on a shelf, right? At the series level, I need to know what’s in each book, but condensed enough I can consider the links between each of the stories – what major events in book 1 cause major events in book 2, or change their outcome, etcetera. Which events in the life of a given character resonate from book to book, and so on. I’m sure I’m doing none of that perfectly, but by keeping it condensed, I can tweak and rewrite fairly large sections without too much hassle. If a whole chapter is a hundred words, a major rewrite at this stage is something I can feasibly do during lunch.

The next is going to be an intermediate between my usual loose outlines and my working outline – again, about four thousand words, but covering just the book I want to write right now. This outline’s going to relate more to the presented narrative – defining what chapter goes where, what sorts of dune-style epigrams I’m going to use, where I’m going to divide the book up into other sections, and so on. Not necessarily something I can work from directly, because I don’t think it’ll have enough detail for me to work from directly, but more something I can use as a progress bar – I might literally print out a copy of this thing in fine print and use a highlighter or sharpie or something to mark out how much of it I’ve done and how much of the book is left.

We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll keep you all updated. As always, thank you so much for your support, and stay safe in the big scary world out there.

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By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.