A Writing Journey

Outlines

Yesterday, I finished typing up the edits for my manuscript. I will be letting it rest for a little while now. And since I finished that early in the morning, I spent the rest of the day outlining the sequel.

Now, I’m not usually one for outlining. What I normally do is write out a basic plot guideline and follow that. I did that for the sequel, but decided to try something new. I recently read a blog post (which you can read here) about how outlining can help prevent writer’s block. I say why not try, right? After all, I’ve posted about how writer’s block can be considered a fear of failure, and an outline can help a person ignore that little voice that says you don’t know what you’re doing. With an outline, you know right where your story is headed.

When I was in high school, I hated outlines. My teachers always said they had to be in a very specific format. My speech teacher took off points for commas, conjunctions, and even if one sentence spilled into two lines! She was a great teacher, but she was also the reason that I hated outlines until my junior year of college. That was when a professor (in an anthropology class) said “I don’t care about the format of your outline, I just want some sort of outline.” Really, she didn’t care? I felt so free!

And I promptly started writing my outline in the same format that my speech teacher taught. Well, almost the same. I had lots of commas and conjunctions. And oh my, I had run-on sentences spanning four lines! It was amazing.

On the outline for my sequel, a lot of the points are simple things like such-and-such happens, this character feels this way, that character will say this. Easy stuff. But my hand was cramped and it took about five hours (though I did have interruptions which probably took a lot of that time). Still, I think it will pay off. I’ve got a sort-of detailed 10-page outline now! (Is a 10-page outline a little much? I don’t know. Sometimes I get carried away.)

I have high hopes for this!

Do you outline before you start a new project? Share your thoughts!

Take care, fellow travelers!

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Comments on: "Outlines" (2)

  1. I almost never outline prior to a first draft, but I have found outlines invaluable when embarking on a second draft. I start by outlining exactly what happens in my already-written first draft; then I add things, subtact things or move them around in ways that seem more natural or more useful to the story. It works especially well as reference when editing, and it’s easier to spot inconsistencies.

    • I have done something similar in working on my second draft. I wrote the big events and other important details on notecards so that I could rearrange them. This has really helped withe the flow of the story.

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