Writing as You Go vs. Having an Outline

For my first book, I knew how I wanted the story to begin. My kids had been watching Cinderella over and over. I started asking myself what if questions. The story got stuck in my brain to the point that I could sleep at night. So I just sat down and started to type it out on my computer. But I didn’t know how I wanted it to end. After what was in my head was on paper, I had to decide what else I wanted to happen in the story and what the big climax was going to be. To do that I kind of did an outline/map kind of thing.

The next book I started was going to be the second book in the series. For it, I wanted an outline or synopsis which was a good thing. Then, life seemed to get in the way and I didn’t get back to it for a few years. Actually, I haven’t yet gotten back to it. I started another book that I thought I would make my third book but now it will be my second book and my second book will be my third book. Confused? I know. I’m sorry about that.

I’m telling you all of that just to tell you about the short story I’m writing. It started out as a thought. I don’t remember what inspired it, but just like my first book I just started writing. It is set in the Medieval Era. It is about a young lady who tries to murder a young man she believes is responsible for the loss of her home. She finds herself back in her home, which now belongs to him, and given the chance to live there and run the keep as his wife. Yet, she refuses to marry him and he refuses to let her leave. He is convinced he can change her mind. Will he? I don’t know yet. I haven’t gotten to the end yet. Unlike the other stories rolling around in my head, I knew what I wanted to happen in the beginning, middle, and the end. So, yes I do know if he will, but I’m not going to tell you.

The story is written in first person. The main character’s name is Anne. She was fun to create. The man she want’s to hate is Sir Peter. Now that I’m at the end of the story I’ve been debating with myself. If been considering making the story into a book. There isn’t anything spiritual in the story and I really want there to be. Plus, I would like to develop Anne and Sir Peter’s character a little bit more. So, with that in mind, I’m giving you an excerpt from the story. Hopefully you can tell me if you think the story should stay a short story or deserves to be longer.

Thomas only took a few steps into the war room. “Sir Peter will be with you in just a few moments.” Then he turned and was gone.

I roamed the room. Military weapons hung on the wall. The table was lined with swords and crossbows. As I slowly made my way around the room, I noticed a small knife with rubies incrusted in its hilt. I picked it up to examine it closer.

Behind me, I heard the door open. I whirled around and hid the knife in the folds of my skirt.

Sir Peter stared, frozen in the entrance to the room. I didn’t know what to think. Could he see the knife in my hand?

I gripped the knife. I wasn’t going to use it, but I didn’t want him to know I had been looking at it. “You wanted to speak to me?”

He cleared his throat, “Yes.” He walked closer to me, his eyes taking in every inch of me. It made me blush. I looked down at my dress to make sure I wasn’t exposing too much flesh. As far as I could tell, there was nothing to draw his eyes.

I looked up to find his blue eyes boring into mine. Once he stood in front of me, he reached out his hand and ran it up my arm. Goose bumps rose on my arms. I pulled away and lowered my eyes.

He dropped his hand. “I’m sorry. Your dress is lovely.” He turned away and braced his hands on the table.

I watched him. His eyes seemed to be looking over the weapons on the table. I worried he would notice the knife missing. “What did you want to speak to me about?”

He smiled, still looking at the table’s contents. “I want you to feel free to run this keep as though it were your home; direct the servants, order the meals, and all the other things that comes from running a keep.”

I was about to tell him that I had run this keep since I was fourteen, but he turned to me still smiling. My heart jumped.

He placed his hands on my shoulders, “I think these swords are to heavy for you to lift.” I frowned. He slowly pulled me toward him. I placed my hand on his stomach, trying to keep the distance. I was distracted by the hard muscles under his shirt.

His voice drew my eyes to his while my heart pounded in my ears. “I have a ruby incrusted knife. It is very sharp. It my be sharper than any of these swords.”

He was drawing me even closer. I could feel his warmth and smell his scent; linseed oil nad leather. His lips were coming closer to mine. His breath whispered across my lips, “It reminds me of you, both beautiful and deadly.”

I need you honest opinion. Should this story stay a short story or become a novel? If you’re a writer, what do you do to get your story on paper?

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