Working on the second draft of the outline for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned today, something occurred to me as I found a detour around a plot roadblock. Time and again I've come up against what looks like plot holes, things that caused me to stop what I was doing and argue with myself. Does this not make sense? Why is it really here in the first place? Should I do something else?
Round and round turns the hamster-wheel, until a day or two later an answer pops out. Sometimes I scrap what I had in mind and come up with something else. Other times, though, I end up keeping what I have, only with a far more detailed justification for it.
The latter makes me deeply uncomfortable. Did I actually figure out how to make the element in question work, or did I just come up with a better excuse/self-justification for why I should leave it in?
The other week, I finished the first very messy, very crude outline for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. I've learned not to let such things bother me; the initial steps with anything new (especially something this much of a left turn for me) need to be messy and undisciplined, the better to let them come into whatever full flower they have to bloom into. Let that happen first, then prune.
Next week, and through January perhaps, I'll be rewriting the outline and making it into something that someone other than myself might be able to read. It's tempting to turn that into a pitch for the story, the better to sell alpha and beta readers on it, but that's not how this should function -- it's better thought of as a roadmap with a lot of detail and color, not a sales brochure.