So many decision trees…

After screwing up my first attempt at flowcharting the sequel to Weekend Plans, and then screwing up my second attempt as well, I realized that I needed to attack this book differently. With Weekend Plans, everything was easy enough to keep straight in my head and I only had to make a few fixes in the editing process. But the sequel has a lot more going on, and even though I enjoyed writing the first outline, I think I knew deep down that I was going to have to start over.

So I did. I cleared out everything in the outline with the exception of the “don’t go to the spanking party” branches, because those are still usable. That means losing 474 rows of my outline spreadsheet. That hurt. A lot. (Don’t worry; I kept a backup. I might still be able to use some of the text in the new outline.)

Then I fixed in my head the fifteen or so spanking scenes I wanted to write for this book. I made a few judicious cuts to certain event trees in my mental map, and then I sat down and started drawing.

(The new flowchart for the sequel to Weekend Plans, image #1.)
(The new flowchart for the sequel to Weekend Plans, image #2.)
(The new flowchart for the sequel to Weekend Plans, image #3.)

I reused my original sheet of paper from the first flowchart, and that was my first mistake. I really could have used the extra space. But I wanted to conserve. Still, as you can see, I started out giving myself plenty of room, only to find that I ran out of room fairly quickly and had to incorporate arrows as well as writing smaller and smaller items on the flowchart.

That said, I now have a completed flowchart that I can use to write the outline. Not only that, but by using the flowchart I can more easily determine where I can reuse certain pages, to cut down on the page count of this book.

I don’t begrudge myself the literal 24 hours of wasted time I spent already, because without it I wouldn’t know what I wanted each scene to look like, and I wouldn’t have learned the right way (for me) to do future choose-your-own-adventure stories.

And there will be more. Eventually. But this one’s going to take a while to write.

Wish me luck.

One thought on “So many decision trees…

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