Why Outline?

Who actually outlines their novels? I know a well variety of people who outline and people who don’t outline. For the people who do not outline, is that a bad thing? No.

Outlining means to lay your novel out flat before you even begin writing it. You write the basic idea, certain scenes you want, character bios, etc. in a notebook, on the computer, on index cards, what have you. It’s almost as if you’ve mapped out your brain so when you do start writing, you’re able to write, write, write!

Outlining is optional when it comes to writing. It’s not like the first draft stage or the editing stage; you can actually skip the outlining stage. It works for some people, but it doesn’t work for others. Some prefer to freewrite from the get-go and go from there.

Via Google
Via Google

Personally, I find outlining to be a huge help, but even I don’t do it all the time.

I think it depends on the kind of project your writing. When deciding if you should outline your novel before writing, ask yourself:

–Are there going to be a lot of characters that need developing?
–How many different ways can my plot go? Will there be any opportunities where the plot will rip and cause a hole?
–Where are my characters based? Is the setting fiction or based off of a real place?

Of course, there’s also genre to consider. I believe that if you’re writing a mystery or a science fiction/fantasy novel, it always helps to outline. If there’s a lot of information the reader will obtain while reading the novel, how can you as the author be expected to remember it all while writing? That’s how plot holes happen.

As I said, outlining is completely optional. Will it hurt your writing? No, of course not. Does your outline need to be complete before you start your novel? No.

Via Google
Via Google

That’s what I love about outlines; there are no rules. You may not stick to your outline (or your characters might not), but that’s okay. An outline is just a guideline.

You can map out your ideas however you want, where ever you want, whenever you want. If you get stuck on your outline at some point, you can begin writing what you have already outlined. By the time you get to the end of your outline, you should have thought of new ideas to continue on.

When that happens to me, I continue to write and outline as I write. It makes editing a lot easier for me.

Speaking of editing… outlining is a great way to help edit; not just help with the first draft.

Once you finish your first draft, you can always refer back to your outline to look up certain characters, change some scenes around, etc.

All in all, outline helps you further understand your novel.

Related Articles:

How to Make a Novel Outline
Writing an Outline of Your Novel
Outlining Your Novel: Why and How

Slightly Ahead Again

I sat down this morning at my computer and wrote another 3,004 words for my NaNo. My current word count is 34,038 which makes me ahead of about 700 words or so.

I’m writing a collection of short stories (really short… each is about 1,000 words long). I’ve been using different prompts I find in books and on the Internet. A few prompts were really good and I can see them becoming novels. Maybe they will some day. Some of the prompts… well, you can tell I was just trying to get the words down.

This morning, instead of doing a prompt I wrote a quick scene with George and Lilah from my novel Detective Florence. This scene has nothing to do with the novel at hand. In fact, it’s an idea for an upcoming two/three-book series for the characters. I always imagined having a case in each novel that surround one larger case that takes two or three books to solve. I have a few cases in mind which means that so far George and Lilah are going to be in at least four different series (minimum eight books, maximum 12 books… and ideas are still coming).

The scene I wrote this morning is from one of those cases. By doing that, I came up with so many more ideas for that case. I planned on that being the fourth case in the series, but I may end up writing it as the second one. We’ll see how it turns out.

Because, you know… I still have to finish up the first case which will probably be two novels. I planned on a trilogy, but George and Lilah didn’t want to work on the case for that long. I have to write the third book, but it will most likely tag onto the second book, which is in the middle of the edits.

Once NaNo is over, George and Lilah are going to get my undivided attention. So I think it helped that I was able to write a quick scene with the two of them this morning.

Busy-ness

This, That, And The Other…

 

Well, it has been almost (ish) a month since I have posted on here. I remember that my last post I mentioned that I was going to write all weekend (because we had that blizzard) and that I would post again right after the weekend. That went well, didn’t it?

Actually, it did. I wrote during the weekend. I didn’t write as much as I wanted to do and I certainly didn’t write as much as I had the time for, but something is better than nothing, right?  I have been writing off and on since then. I’m working on a new novel. Yes, another new novel. I’m not working on The Blank Page anymore. Since I lost my flash drive, I haven’t really been encouraged to write anything that I had already started.

This novel is called Take Over. I thought of the idea while I was at work and then forgot about it. Then while I was in the shower a couple of days later, I thought of it again and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I came up with ideas and characters and everything. It was a fun shower.

I’ll post the summary to this novel at a later time, but the basic of it is that a group of high school students plan take over the school. Not in a mean, bad way, but only because they’re seniors and they want to leave the school as “legends.” They don’t mean anything bad by it, but it soon gets a little out of hand and it’s a riot…teachers versus students. This is what I have been writing lately and it’s coming along quite nicely. I’ll get into more details about the characters and such later, as well.

I decided to switch up my New Year’s Resolution a bit. I decided that I’m going to try to write at least 1,000 words a day. So I should have about 365,000 words by the end of the year. So by the end of February I should have about 59,000 or something like that. Since I wrote a lot of The Blank Page, I’m going to include that word count because I did write it during 2013. So that, (plus what I have for Take Over so far) equals to 27,802 words. A bit behind, yes, but I think I can do it because I don’t usually end up writing just 1,000 words at a time.

I have 12,663 words for Take Over and 21 pages. Hopefully it keeps up going at the rate it’s going. 😉

 

2013: 27,802/365,000 Words Written
2013: 932/18,250 Pages Read