Writing essays and short stories as a high school student and even in university, I was able to jot down my research and ideas in no particular order and then just start to write. And as I wrote I referred to my jumble of notes, ticking off each idea as I incorporated it into the work. My brain seemed to be capable of holding the whole thing in there without a detailed plan. And that’s how I started writing Loyal to the Crown. A year later I had what would surely be the next best thing on anyone’s list.
If only my writing had been as great as my ego.
Today book two is screaming to get out of my head but I am following a different plan of attack. Squeezed in with preparing for a great agent conference in three weeks and fixing up the minor improvements suggested by my editor, I am following a plan to get book two out a whole lot faster. I am outlining.
7 Reasons Why:
1. The outline helps me to see where the story arc is and, indeed, if I have a story arc with rising action.
2. If I know where the story is going, I can insert seemingly insignificant details which later on will play a part in the plot.
3. I can see at a glance the timeline in my historical facts and easily interweave my fictional characters’ lives.
4. The actual writing will go much faster as I’ll know where my characters are going and what their respective problems could be.
5. Starting each day’s work will be easy as I’ll have my roadmap beside me and know my characters’ journey. That blank page will not be so daunting.
6. I won’t have so many problems wondering if I already had my hero shoot that intruder or if I just dreamed it.
7. If I have to take an unforseen break for a week or two, God forbid, I will still know where the story is going and how far I’ve come.
So here I am, proof positive, that you can teach an old dame new tricks. Time to get back to my outline.
Do you use an outline? How detailed should an outline be? What do you see as disadvantages to using an outline? Consider leaving a comment.