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!