Outlining: Tips And Ideas

To outline or not to outline… that is the question.

Last week I wrote a post called, “Why Outline?” The title is pretty self-explanatory. Why should you outline your novel? I gave a list of a few (good) reasons, but ultimately the choice is yours whether you want to outline your novel or not. It’s no big deal if you decide not to.

However, if you do decide to outline your novel here are a few interesting ways to do so (if you don’t already have a particular way to outline).

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

The Snowflake Method: Show of hands: who has heard of this before? I have, but have I ever used it? No. I had to do a bit of research for this one because I didn’t really know what it’s about. Basically, it’s a 10-step process on how to organize your writing. You start from a small summary of the novel and go from there. The last step is to begin your first draft.

Now I know it seems like a lot of steps just to go from idea to first draft, but the idea behind it is to start small and take baby steps in organizing your mind and thoughts.

This is to ensure you don’t miss anything while you write the story. All the scenes will be laid out for you, all the characters will be unique and have a certain purpose, and (hopefully) there will be no plot holes.

Does this mean you won’t have to do any editing when the first draft is done? Of course not.

That would be too easy.

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

The Skeletal Outline: You know that pyramid thing you learn in elementary/middle school? Well, some people actually put that to good use when they write their novels.

They use this pyramid (plot diagram, according to the picture) to summarize each part. Each part being the exposition, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution. By summarizing, you write certain scenes you want, describe what the characters are going to do and what’s going to happen to them, etc.

Some people use bullet points to highlight key concepts in each part. Personally, I think the bullet points would be easier. Then again, it wouldn’t be as detailed… unless you use a lot of bullet points.

Like the Snowflake Method, I do not use this method. To be honest, I don’t even think of my novels in terms of exposition, rising/falling action, climax, resolution, what have you. I just kind of go with the flow and write the scenes in order as they would go.

However, if I had to choose between these two methods, I think I would go for the skeletal outline. I enjoy making lists and the pyramid seems to do just that. Then again, I’m sure you could modify each method to make a unique one that works specifically for you.

20150124_151016Chapter Summary: This is how I used to outline. Way back when I wrote fan fiction. 11 years ago. Wow.

Anyway, I have no idea if anyone has ever outlined like this before, but it worked for me way back when. I don’t use that way now, but I still think it’s a decent way to outline your novel.

All I did was summarize each chapter. It’s that simple. As you can see from the picture, it ultimately looks like a block of letters (especially with my handwriting). The highlighted parts show a new chapter. Everything written after each highlight is a summary of that chapter.

I explain what scenes are going to be in the chapter, sometimes I add in some dialogue I would like some characters to say… I even have notes that say things such as: “foreshadowing… yay!” You know, so I remember how to write my plot so readers can figure out the foreshadowing, symbolism, and all that fun stuff. I especially make those notes when I realize I foreshadowed without meaning to. It’s like your subconscious is smarter than you.

There you have it. Three different ways to outline your novel, plus more (if you click on the links below). Two I’ve never used and one I used to use all the time. Everyone works differently and at their own pace. So the outlines listed above may or may not work for you; especially if outlining isn’t even your thing. However, it never hurts to try.

As stated before (many times, actually) I use my own method I made up. Well, I thought I made it up, but I have seen it floating around on the Internet. It’d be pretty cool if I had my own method, though. It’s different, but similar to the chapter summary I used to do.

But more on that tomorrow.

Further Reading:

The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel
8 Ways to Outline a Novel
7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story

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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

Ready…Set…

…Wait A Minute…

 

My laptop is fixed. The internet is fixed. The only thing that sucks about it is that it killed my battery…that thing used to last five-six hours. The other day it was at 50% which apparently is now 33 minutes…but whatever! I have to be thankful that the thing actually works again, right? Right! My flash drive is officially gone, but…think positive! Oh, and the printer still won’t work…again, think positive!

Except I haven’t written anything…I haven’t really had the time. Except I’m stuck at school today for a little bit and I don’t have work today. Well, I’m babysitting today, but that’s only for two hours unlike work. Anyway, here is my point: I have to leave for class in about an hour or so, so I think I’m going to begin writing again. Start fresh. Clean slate. After class, which ends at 11:45, but I have a test so I’ll probably be out of there by at least 11:30, I may write again. Although I have a meeting with my advisor at 12:30, so I might just hang around until then. But when the meeting is over, I’m stuck at school until at least 1:45 before my friend drives me home so I can write after the meeting! Although, my friend has a test as well so I might actually get out of here fairly early…

Anyway, I then babysit 3-5ish and then when I come home: BAM! I’m breaking out my typing fingers again. The other day when I pasted “Sad News” I had the hardest time writing it…wanna know why? I hadn’t typed in so long because I hadn’t been in school and I hadn’t been able to use my laptop because of the internet, and I hadn’t been writing at all. My fingers basically forgot how to type. It really was sad news. I’m having a hard time typing now, but I think that’s because my fingers are frozen.

Back on topic: I’m going to write at any moment I can…or any moment I can get to a computer. When I come home from babysitting, I’ll write. And I shall write all night! I’m not going to school tomorrow, even though I have a math quiz.

Everyone has heard of this blizzard that we’re going to get, correct? It’s starting Friday morning and ending Saturday afternoon. I don’t know where any of you are, but in my area we’re going to be getting about two feet of snow as well as some really harsh winds. I doubt I’m going to have school tomorrow, but if I do, the roads and such are probably going to be terrible by the time I get out of class. My class tomorrow is 9-10:15. So I think I’m just going to skip regardless of whether there is school or not. My main concern is work. Fridays I work 11-6 so if my town doesn’t close school, then I’m going to have to go to work…if it is bad then it will be a good thing I skip school because otherwise my poor dad would have to drive all the way to my school and then all the way back to our town to drop me off at work. I live about 20 minutes away from my school, but that’s without traffic and such. With the snow…it would probably take over an hour just to get there.

But again…back on topic: Basically I’m going to be home all day tomorrow, Friday. I highly doubt I’ll have school and work, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m praying I won’t have work. But since I’ll be home all day with nothing to do, I’m going to write all day. Saturday, too. It’ll still be snowing and I never do anything on Saturdays anyway, so I can just write all day. I think it’s going to be a very productive weekend!

My only concern is that if the power goes out…considering that my laptop only lasts probably a little over an hour now, I’ll be screwed. Although, I have plenty of notebooks I can resort to, but typing is a lot faster. Plus, I have my iPod and I have apps called DraftPad and A Novel Idea. I’ve explained A Novel Idea before, it basically helps you plan out scenes, titles, characters, plots, etc. It’s really cool, really fancy, and free. DraftPad, another free app, is a blank piece of paper and you just write anything and everything. Then when you’re done, you can post it to a website, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail it to yourself, whatever. So I could use that and e-mail it to myself in case the power comes back on. Then I can start where I left off. But then if my iPod dies…eh, whatever.

So I’m planning a productive weekend and I hope it’s productive for all of you people out there, as well! If you’re in the area and you’re going to get hit by this storm…be careful and good luck! I’ll post back tomorrow morning with how well I’m about to do with writing. 🙂

Relaxation

I Got Nothing Done Today…

 

Well, I have been on a roll writing for at least one hour every day. However, I didn’t write at all today. But I did say that I was going to try to post on here every day, so here I am. I have no news, but I am posting!

The reason as to why I didn’t write today was because I was busy with my websites. For example, Stars Vs. Gems, Gaia Ranch, and Spilled Ink. Spilled Ink is a writing website that my sister and I are working on together. We already have one up right now, but we completely re-did the whole website. So that’s why I didn’t give you the link because it’s not open yet. However, we  are planning on opening it on Columbus Day…maybe sooner. I’ll explain more about the website when it opens.

Once I finished working on our websites for the day, I thought about getting some writing done, but when I looked at the time I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough time. Although, now that I think about it, I could have written a little bit. Getting a little something done is better than nothing. But oh, well. What’s done is done.

I had a very busy day today because of church. Everyone knows that I’m the co-director of the Sunday school, correct? Well, today the Bishop came for a visit. Plus the Sunday school were performing something in the middle of the service. Also, we had a luncheon for the ladies who run the Thrift Shop to say thank you for everything they do for the church. Usually, I’m at church from 9:30 to 12:00. Today, because of the Bishop’s schedule, the service was 2 to 3. But because of the thing the Sunday School did in the service, we needed to practice it. So we told everyone to come at one, which meant that I was there before one. Then after the service, we had the luncheon and, well…I was at church today from 12:45 to 6:00. It wasn’t a bad time, but I just didn’t want to be there for that amount of time as well as it being smack in the middle of the day.

Anyway, when I got home, I was starving (there wasn’t any food I liked at the luncheon) so my sister and I got Panera and we’ve been watching TV ever since. I’ve been too tired to do anything else. Although, I think I might go plan out the novel a little bit.

The Blank Page has three novels in it and I thought that I should plan those out. Not fully, but just enough so that when I have my characters writing them, they all make sense. So I may do that, but as far as actual writing goes…I’m not going to be boosting my word count tonight.

Speaking of planning out the novels, though, I found this really cool app on my iPod. It’s called “A Novel Idea.” It breaks everything down. You can click on “novels” and will ask you the title, setting, theme, tone, POV, premise, plot, and group. The group is something you make up. You can group certain things together. For example, when I plugged in The Blank Page, I put it under the Writers Group group. The other sections are “scenes,” “characters,” “locations,” and “ideas.” It’s very detailed and organized. I added The Blank Page as a novel and added Dominic, Justin, and Adair as characters. Then it allowed me to attach the novel to each character. It also allowed me to give Dominic, Adair, and Justin relations to each other. It really keeps you organized. I think I may use this to plan out the three novels that aren’t real. Then I might know enough information about them so Dominic, Justin, and Adair can write them efficiently in The Blank Page.

If you like to write and have an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or anything along those lines, then you should download this app. It’s really useful and it was free. I highly recommend it.

2013: 11,010 Words