I took part in Forward Motion's March Madness this year and in one week I wrote 40k on Water/Stone/Light. The book is now close to the end of the first draft. I would not have been able to do this without the outline because of all the other work I had to do as well (DAZ newsletter, Vision: A Resource for Writers e-zine, updates for Forward Motion and a bit more work for DAZ3D.com, etc.) Generally I save such writing sprints for NaNoWriMo, but part of my problem this year has just been writing and not get distracted by everything else I need to get done.
The challenge worked. I came close to finishing it by the end of the dare, and then a couple days later, I wrote The End!
This will not be the end of the story.
The first draft is 97,016 right now. Since my first drafts almost always grow in the editing, this means a hefty sized book when I'm completely done. I also have several more incidents that I wanted to include, and started seeing even more possibilities the closer I got to 'the end' of the book. So about 10k back I finally made the decision to write a set of books: Tales of Tygen 1: Water/Stone/Light and Tales of Tygen 2: (Unknown).
If I had decided to keep this at one book, I would have had something longer than I'm comfortable with (200k or more), or I would have started cutting some of the material. It's possible I'll end up with either of those anyway by the time I get done with book 2. However, by giving myself a second book option, I opened up possibilities.
Now I don't have to rush anything story-wise. This allowed me to find a new traitor in the midst of the mess, and is going to give one set of MC's a chance to do more than merely spend some time on the run before the resolution of the story. By spreading the storyline out over a few more months, my characters will have a chance to do more, especially the Prince Heir, who needs to grow up a bit before the end of the novels.
I'm not sure I like where Book 1 ends, with all the characters in a state of flux, but I won't release book 1 until I have book 2 completed, so people shouldn't have too much trouble with it.
Let's talk a bit about outlines, though. Someone I've known on Forward Motion for a long time had no idea that I don't follow my outlines religiously. An outline is a potential path for the story, but the more of the story I write, the more divergence there's going to be from the original plan. I've heard this from several other people who outline as well. I usually stick to the basics; I know I want a, b, c and d to happen, but they may not happen in the same way as I first imagined. Like above where I found a new traitor in the midst of the mess. He actually makes the basic trouble more likely to have happened, even while sitting quietly in the background of the story. I could work it with the others, but he gives it a bit more authority. Also, as someone in a place of power, he had more connection with those who needed to help start things moving.
He was always there in the story. It just came to the moment when I had to decide what he would do after the trouble started and I realized he wasn't going to do what I had always assumed.
This upped the stakes significantly and gave several other characters cascading problems. It adds a complication to an earlier set of circumstances, too, which will be quite easy to work in at that point. I can work in all kinds of things when I do the rewrite, but it won't significantly change what I've written since this has to remain in the background until I am ready for him to show his true colors.
I am happy with the first draft of the book. I'm happy with the additional things I'm getting. Now it's time to move on to the next story.