Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Writing an Outline

So, I'm starting my new book. The old one is shelved and my new years resolutions include not making the same mistakes I did last time around so hopefully I won't feel like I'm patching up something unsalvagable later on. For one, I am making a very in depth outline. I am determined to be more organized and know every step of the way where my book is going. I know some people don't like to work that way, they love to go with the writerly flow of things, which is fun, but for me I need more structure. More purpose. At least this time around.

Here is what I have done so far, or will do, in order:

  • Written a short SYNOPSIS
  • Written my own BLURB (according to the theme I have chosen) 
  • BRAINSTORM plot ideas (more than what my synop. held)
  • Did CHARACTER PROFILES for each main and secondary character (including likes, dislikes, personality, past history, or whatever else I can think of that makes them unique, including naming them)
  • Write out the OUTLINE in more depth. Each scene, what I want to accomplish with each, etc.

Actually, I began writing the first chapter a few times before doing any of this because I had some idea of where I wanted it to begin, but as with all first-first chapters I knew I wouldn't be keeping it exactly the same and decided to dig into my real plan of organization. I am excited. I feel calmer knowing I have a plan and will feel better the more I work on this. There will be no guess work this time.

As with anything I will stop and write if inspiration hits for a certain scene, even if my outlining isn't finished. I believe this is always a good idea for writing. If you have a great idea, seize it! There is a chance you may not need it later, but there is also a greater chance that you will, especially when you are feeling that excited burning feeling about it. Better to write it down just in case then to lose it forever. I have a terrible memory and have proven to myself that I won't remember something brilliant, especially word for word, later if I wait to capture it.

I also keep a page open for writing down quotes (things I want my characters to say at whatever point of the book). These are fun to look back to and stick in when the conversation lulls.

Another helpful tip that I got from another writer, is number the pages of my notebook (if you are using a notebook) and then at the back or front somewhere write what each pages contains. That way you don't get frustrated looking through loads of notes, not remember where anything is. (And for those of you who are looking for a bargain, this is great: I wait until the school merchandise at Walmart goes on sale and grab all the 70 page notebooks I can get. One year they had them on sale for 5 cents each! And I got SEVERAL boxes of notebooks for just a few dollars!)

 Any other tips out there? I hope this was helpful. I am so excited about the new project and will keep you all posted on how this works out.

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