Cheating On My Draft with My Ex-Manuscript

Hey y’all, I’ve been taking a few days off from writing, by which I mean I slept in until 4pm a couple of days ago.


I said in my last update that I was reworking my outline for my current project “Roots,” and that’s how I started. You see the reason I’m so intent on finishing Roots is because I have this other project that I started back in middle school which has gone through several renditions to say the least. I might post some of the crappy old drafts sometime later, but the point is that it’s a piece I keep going back too. I work on it when I’m feeling down or like I can’t write other projects. It’s actually the first piece I ever outlined, and it’s usually where I go when I try a new technique or method since I have a lot of the world figured out.


Last night I was about to look at my Roots outline when I started thinking about my Old Faithful project and a few of the ideas I’d come up with. Somehow I ended up pulling up the Scrivener document and working with the character sheets until about 1AM. Somehow, I don’t know, maybe witchcraft or something (I was bound by its sneaky allure and forced to write (how dare it)). Like I said before, I’m not good with structured outlining fill in the blank sheets. I find them hard to navigate and a little unnecessary. Scrivener comes pre-programed with one of these in its character sheets. I have it pictured below so you can see what I’m talking about:


Scrivener Character sheet

Scrivener Character sheet

(Shhhh! Steam isn’t open in the background there while I’m typing this out). Anyway, it’s not that long and pretty open ended, so I’ve used it a few times when I outlined Roots the third time, but It’s not really the way my head works. I think the point is more to think about these sort of details before you right so you don’t suddenly change how a character acts or looks rather than as a reference.

What I worked on last night was these character sheets because I wanted to flush out my antagonists for the story (or rather have antagonists since I didn’t find the ones in my last draft all that compelling). I started with images, since I already know my characters well enough to know what characteristics they need to have to signify personalities or to demonstrate how they move. Pictures help me since my in-head writing is very visually oriented and pictures help me stay grounded or test out different ideas I’m weighing. Here is the corkboard mode on Scrivener with my character sheets:

Hope's Character Sheets for Storyteller

Hope’s Character Sheets for Storyteller

I focused a lot on facial expressions since I don’t tend to focus a lot on physical details when I write (I’m more focused on movements or the main details). Jaime, who’s main character, doesn’t really look all that much like Hermione Granger, but she has some basic details I wanted like long brown hair and the right age range (finding character models is difficult for non-mainstream body types, skin tones, or young women). Ideally my character model would be a little chubbier and have a braid, but I had to make sacrifices. The facial expression was more why I picked her; I found it the right tone for inspiring some major details about her, and I’m willing to stake a few physical details from the character model here as well.


I then moved into other main characters in order of importance to the plot (or in the order that I remembered them). Which led me to the last main character I had yet to outline: my antagonist. He’s the only character I don’t know a lot about, but I’d been running through a few ideas. I have no idea what it or they look like so I start plugging my ideas in one at a time and I run across one image I like so I look for images like that one and end up on this one:


Skull Creature by Kazenra (taken from their DeviantArt page)

Skull Creature by Kazenra (taken from their DeviantArt page)

What I like about this one is, again, the face. And it’s like magic. I know exactly what I want this character to be like. So I applied one of the methods I used for my Roots outline which is basically writing about the thing like it’s the Wikipedia page version and that’s my outline for the character.


So that’s how I cheated on my current project and I’m not sure if I’m going to set Roots aside because eventually something I’m proud of has to be finished, but I think I’ll keep working on both outlines and decide which one I’ll use for Camp NaNoWriMo this year.

Are Your Hands Wet?