What do you think about outlines?

Posted by on May 14, 2010 in Uncategorized |

Okay, so somewhere between my last post and today there was a whole day thrown in the mix. How I missed a post yesterday is beyond me, but the day shall not sneak away from me today.

Yesterday I did, yet again, more revising of my query. I have two versions I’ve been working on simultaneously and now I’m really starting to lean more towards one than an other. At first it panicked me, because although I like one better than the other, the one I like least seems to be the one I ‘should’ send, but after some reviews it seems that the one I like is the one I will send. I have not yet decided, but I’m excited and nervous to know that I am almost there. After a few more tweaks to my novel, and a revise of my synopsis I will be armed and ready.

The even greater – although sometimes frustrating – part of being almost done with everything for my novel (until an agent gets a hold of it at least) is that the second novel has been burning in my brain. So much so that I actually put everything aside for a few days to work on the outline for it. I had to get some of these idea’s out on paper, or screen if you prefer. I had sheets upon sheets of papers, word documents, e-mails and text messages I’d sent myself with all the ideas. Now all I had to do was get them on paper and make it work. So the outline has begun.

I must say, an outline is an amazing thing. I never did one for the first book and this book is going to run much more smoothly because of it. That’s not to say it will be easy and I won’t have any issues writing it, but the process itself with be smoother.

In the first book I wrote by the seat of my pants, and somehow it all linked together without any of the major plot holes I w as expecting. With the second book I’ll have an outline, that means I know what will happen and I just have to write it out. Many people believe an outline takes the fun out of writing because they like to see what will happen as the characters do. But just because I have an outline doesn’t mean that is exactly how the story will end up.

With an outline I know what’s going to happen throughout the story to a point, but whether it stays that way is completely up to the story itself. There will be certain events that MUST happen one way or another, but if a certain idea or subplot goes a different direction and it works, than that’s great too. Knowing point by point what will happen is not the same as watching it unfold as the characters first experience certain things.

So now, I am a fan of outlines. I hated them in school and every project I ever worked on. “I can’t do outlines, I have to see how it’s going to happen first hand.” I used to say. But when you sit down with a project for fun, one that you are doing just because you love to do it (although getting paid would be great) makes writing an outline easy. I’m really looking forward to sending out my novel and to keep myself busy while I play the waiting game I’ll have an exciting new part of the story to unfold. It has been and is continuing to be a great journey. Now if I could only get over the dispise I have for ‘reviewing’ my work. Me and re-reading my work don’t get along. I do it because I have to, and I’m glad I do it because it makes my story better, but I really dislike it. But more on that later.

Thoughts: What are your preferences when it comes to writing your novel. Do you use an outline or some other method to make the story happen, what works for you?

I hope everybody has a great weekend. Tune in next week, same Matt time, same Matt channel (Yes I used it again. I like it and it may become a regular addition)