I don't know if this is becoming a bad thing or a really freaking good thing yet but let me tell you what's happened: I started reading books about thirteen months ago. I'm 21 now. I've read 34 books since then and the reason I started reading was because I wanted to learn how to write. I had grown up on television and movies and since it was easier to get published than to get a TV show or a movie, the story I had in my head, I thought, was going to have to be a book. After I had read my 20th book probably, I thought I was ready to start writing and I began on an outline. It was originally just from the point of view of one character who goes on this adventure/survival kind of thing and it quickly grew into many character's point of view. Now I'm at this point where I have ten characters, each with their own plot, who I want to combine into this one big story. If you can think of an umbrella, the ten characters are starting at the edges and are slowly moving into the middle. The hard part is just somehow making it all blend in smoothly and giving each character their story before they get to the big story in the middle. I've been working on this story in just outlines using ten or fifteen sheets of paper a day for six months trying to get it perfect. I started very vague and then got more specific. My first outline, if you will, had a magnification power of one. That was for about two weeks straight working every day on an outline for 4-5 hours a day. Then the outline moved up to a magnification power of ten and more main characters and situations were added. Then I just kept increasing the magnification and getting more specific and making the story perfect. I'm calling them paradigm shifts because all of the outlines are connected but the next paradigm is always longer and more specific and less vague. It's exhausting because I always think, "This is it. I can finally start writing," and then I do and realize that I need to change something and go back to the outline. Then another paradigm shift happens after two weeks of working on the outline and perfecting it and I think that one is it too but it's not. I think at the point I'm at now, I'm probably halfway across the umbrella with all the characters and that I don't have to go back. Again, the hard part is just blending them together and getting them into the situations I want them to get into and making it work. The situations I want them to get into is the reason I'm writing this story. It's the impact the situation has on the character and me personally that I'm trying to make sure it gets to just right. I haven't wrote anything except outlines. But the characters are all in my heads. The main plot is there and I'm about halfway with each of the character's B-plots. I'm making so much headway without having to write anything yet. I have always read from people how they don't do outlines or how they hate them and I find that puzzling because that is all I do. I think if I had not kept doing these outlines for the months I've been doing them that the story would have been 100x worse and would of been that vague crap I had at the beginning. But now I have in view the story I had at the beginning when it came into my head. It was just so big at the time that I couldn't write it all down in one sitting. It's taken this long to just get halfway. And it's not some gigantic story, its just a story where I want certain things to happen in it and plot holes keep coming up. The hard part has been trying to fill in these plot holes or having to start over a lot of the time. But now I'm making serious progress and SO glad I didn't just "start writing" or kept working on a first draft because I would have had plot holes come up and would have to scratch it anyway. And I guess it is kind of a big story. It's more like a "Lonesome Dove" if anyone's read that than it is a "Lost." Does anyone else have a similar experience? Does anyone else get this obsessed? Does anyone else make outlines the way I do? There not outlines, but more summaries of events.