Tools for Revising – the W Outline

Meddling Gods Banner copyOn the Writing Excuses cruise, I went to a bunch of different classes. One that stood out to me the most was the class on outlining. I had long felt that “Meddling Gods” was missing something, so I decided to put it into an outline to find out what that something was.

The form I chose was the simple W. You basically highlight what five points are in your story.

  1. The status quo
  2. First low
  3. First attempt at resolution, things look a bit better.
  4. Second low, right before the climax
  5. Resolution

I used this form for 3 different subplots in “Meddling Gods” and I discovered that I was missing either point 3 or 4 in each subplot. As I started to brainstorm fixes, I realized that I needed to throw out the entire ending and write a new one that would bring all three subplots together at once.

Doing that though, meant not just throwing away work on this novelette, but throwing away the entirety of my novel “The Gods’ Blessings.” Originally, “Meddling Gods” was a prequel to “The Gods’ Blessings” and explained how the country Argamon was destroyed through civil war. But my new ending now saved Argamon, so the events in “The Gods’ Blessings” could no longer take place.

But you know what, I’m actually ok with that. I’d been starting to think that the problems with “The Gods’ Blessings” might just be too big for me to fix. And the new ending to “Meddling Gods” is really strong. I love how it turned out.

Next, I plan to add in foreshadowing, emphasize the five points so that they really feel like lows and highs, and then I’ll move on to a theme pass, a character pass, and a description pass. Then its on to the next market. I have high hopes for when it goes back out.

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