Two years ago, I wrote an outline for a Merlin novel.
I sent it off to the editor handling the Merlin novels at Random House Childrens UK, and about six weeks later it came back with a very nice rejection letter. The editor liked the story, but they weren’t publishing original Merlin novels, just novelizations of the BBC Series.
While I mused at times on how to de-Merlin-ify the story, I never sat down to actually do it. Even a year ago, when I thought about doing it, I didn’t.
Last week, I dug out the USB drive where I had the outline saved, and I printed off a fresh copy.
I finally read it on the train this morning. I pulled out a red pen, began crossing out names on the first page and writing in new names, crossed out a sentence, then crossed out another, and then…
I’d realized two things.
The first, and the less critical of the two, was that I need to reacquaint myself with the source material I was riffing on for the story. It will prove useful. And there’s one other piece of material I need to refamiliarize myself with that was not important two years ago but is now, considering how I intended to reassign the characters.
The second, and the more important, was that the outline was written for a specific television series, and some of the scenes only work because it’s the television characters in the scene. Indeed, the whole point of the first scene in the outline was to correspond to the pre-credits teaser, and while it provides an entrance into the story it doesn’t have a pay-off of its own. Tangential to this, I saw that some scenes really only existed to give all the Merlin regulars something to do.
So here’s the plan.
Re-card the story. Strip the outline back down to concept, new characters, and general plot developments, then build it back out. Then, use the outline for NaNo.
Tonight, then, I’m taking the outline back to index cards. Should be fun.