The state of the novel: avoiding outlining.
I ended up shelving the Cria/Iresha storyline (it’ll be its own book) to focus on Makrannan’s, which then made it clear that Makrannan’s storyline was weak and problematic. So I threw most of it out. The worldbuilding was flimsy as well, leading me to spend the last month fleshing it out (magic systems, history, surrounding cultures, etc.), and I now have a much more solid grasp on the world. I’ve also been learning more about Makrannan’s character and backstory.
All that prewriting has gotten me to the point where the next step is writing the full outline. I’ve done an amazing job avoiding that, however, because I don’t have a good ending yet and the middle is completely vague and muddy — nonexistent, really.
My goal this coming week: figure out a better ending, and plan out the overall structure of the novel. Once I have the boundaries and shape of the forest in place, so to speak, planting the trees should be much easier.
One of the things I’ve run into is that there is an overwhelming infinity of choices at almost every step of the plot. Having a solid structure will, I believe, help with making better design choices in plotting the book.
Sidenote: yesterday marked thirteen weeks solid of writing a thousand words a day. A lot of those words have been prewriting or random freewriting, but establishing the habit has finally given me the confidence that I can manage the day-to-day writing load necessary to finish a novel.