Rogue Outlines and WordPress Themes

writing-lessonI would’ve loved for this post to be pretty and poetic, but frankly, I’m cranky, tired, and have poisoned myself with eating one too many doughnuts . . . for like 5 days. By the time I get back to the gym, I’m gonna look like Jabba the Hutt, but for right now, I want to focus on two things that are both infuriating and enlightening at the same time, hence, the euphoria and hysteria in equal doses.

Outlines that Go Rogue

Yes, the hint is in the title. This week I have hit the mother of all pains in the life of a plotter – my outline has decided to go the way of the dodo and is kaput. How does this happen? How can several months of labor and sweat just disappear you may ask?

Four letters and for once it doesn’t begin with “F” although frankly, you want to punch her in her face: your M-U-S-E

Yes, even us plotters from time to time are inspired, and find ourselves going off piste. The danger in this action is that you forget what sort of damage that can do to your carefully layed-out plan until it’s too late.

For instance, in this particular example I have allowed a new character to run away with her dialogue, and therefore, introduce a concept that wasn’t supposed to be her idea at all, and was scheduled to happen organically later on in the story. Problem is now that it’s written in, it makes sense, but all that follows has to be adjusted for this change in events. By the way, “adjusted” is just writer’s denial for STARTING OVER. With the outline mind you, not the book. So today I spent my day not writing, but sweating over a broken outline trying to figure out how to splice it all back together, but also, having to re-think character motivation as some actions had obviously changed.

Yes, it’s sucks. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass when you are working in the urban fantasy realm where you are dealing with not only plots and subplots, but multiple worlds, physics, mythology, and a whole ton of rules that you have to keep up with because they aren’t real. It’s a lot to juggle. You really don’t want to start messing around with it once you get the train moving on the track.

Oh, did I mention that I hate outlining?

Having said all of this, I do think most of the time, some of your best work can come from letting things just happen in your writing, even if it means having to re-think the rest of the book. Although I swore and carried on, and have literally eaten everything there is to eat in the house, I think the outline is better for the changes, and it forced me to look at some of the weaker chapters and come up with better ways to move the story line along.

Fingers crossed, back to writing tomorrow. So much catching up to do.

And my second thing . . .

WordPress is gonna kill me WordPress_blue_logo.svg

I never like to do things the easy way. Ever. And in never doing things the easy way, I create a ton of work for myself and invariably for the husband, too, since he’s my technical back up. And Joostie. Joostie also serves as my web guy most of the time, but having him in a European time zone does make things somewhat difficult.

Anyhow, the gist is this: through sagely advice given to me by an independent consultant, I’ve decided to update my wordpress theme to something that is less of an agony aunt column and more akin to a professional author site. It will be the first time I’ve done a theme update ever. (Yes, I’m still using like twenty-ten or something like that)

Problem is, as anyone who’s got a pre-existing site especially one with custom CSS in it knows, it’s not as easy to convert your old site over, as every template company claims. In fact, it’s a royal pig and will have you pulling out your hair because no two templates are ever set up the same, and what works in one always seems to throw a wobbly in the other.

While Divi by Elegant Themes looks amazeballs, and I love the plug and play action, actually getting my rather simple blog transferred over without having items sprout up where they shouldn’t go isn’t working out very well. Of course, the simplest thing would be to activate the theme and be damned and then frig around with it until you can figure out why it’s adding say “categories” to you main tool bar. But being 200 miles from home with no techie love to back me up, it’s a daunting task that I will need to save for another day and likely a distant weekend.

It’s times like this that I wish I’d stayed a web developer so I knew what the hell I was doing.