Good Day to you! Welcome back to my blog where you get to have a first hand account of a fresh eyed writer, trying to publish a book from start to finish. Aren’t you lucky! Not feeling it? Well you should. The blogs I usually run across are from writers who are already published or near published. Their blogs are usually chipper, everything is the shiny side of it. I give doom and gloom.
Ok doom and gloom might be a little strong. I am honestly just trying to give the honest underbelly of the process. Yes I’m a bit snarky, but you must learn to laugh at yourself or you’ll go insane.
And your going to need a sense of humor for today’s main topic… OUTLINES! (Gasp! Shriek!) Yeah, I fucking hate outlines. Ok so maybe in the first blog, I should have issued a language warning. Sorry if it’s not your cup of tea. But there is power in those words. And when it comes to outlines, trust me you need all you can get. And unless you’re some freak who likes the torture of outrageous outlines, power words will become your new best friend. If you weren’t already aquatinted. Side note, no offense to you outline freaks, I love just the same.
So, if I’m being totally transparent with the process. I’ve never outlined outside of English class, decades ago. And that was because the standardized testing in the state of Florida, required it for as part of the essay section. Those test only being an 1- 1 1/2 hours long, the outlines were always short and sweet.
Fast forward to adult me, writing books. In all honesty, I am a full on go with the flow, write what the character is telling type of person. And I wrote some pretty decent stuff if I do say so myself. But I being honest right. I found myself writing something in chapter one, only to get to chapter four and need to go back. I would forget, names of minor characters. Locations would go out the window. Conversations became empty forgotten words. Let’s not even discuss the plot holes that can be found when that work is read today. It took for me to start the process of using scrap writing (as discussed in the las blog) to truly and honestly see what was happening. And mind you, this is stuff that will never get published in it’s current, raw plot.
I have two stories that I’m hoping will become at least a trilogy. But guess what happen? Writing these stories without an outline, I couldn’t tell you where I want the story to end. In writing, you need to know how the story ends and write to that conclusion. I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. Mind you, these are stories that are in the works for years! One has been “in the works” for thirteen years this month (October 2017).
Like I said, I am a freestyle writer. Hell this blog should tell you that. I pick a topic and zip all over it like a Looney Tunes character. There are some authors who are successful with writing whole books like this. But, I decided to give this outline crap a try. So I went to the place where everyone goes to start the research process. No, I skipped Google and went straight to Youtube. Currently, I follow an author by the name of Jenna Moreci. She self-published her first novel.
Now, content warning. Much like me, Jenna curses, thus my appeal to her video blogs. She has I believe three videos on the outline process that I found helpful, I’ll try to link them all below. Now mind you when she says in one videos that her outlines are a minimum of fifty pages. I laughed “Ain’t no way in hell I’m doing fifty pages Jenna.”. Currently, I’m at forty-three.
Remember in the last post where I said, we would circle back around to this outline issue? Yeah, I’m not finished with my outline. I know, shame.
I stoped eighty percent into my outline because the story was calling me to write the beginning. Let me tell you, for someone who hates outlines, I found that actually writing what was already outlined easy. I outlined the just of the story, the structure, possible thoughts/feelings, and possible conversation. In all honesty, I thought outlining would restrict my writing. I can tell you, it hasn’t. Outline gave me the freedom to explore the scene I was writing and keep the pacing and overall plot.
Am I waving pom-pom’s for team outline, fuck no! I still hate it, look at exhibit A: an unfinished outline. Make no mistake, the outline will get finished. I know exactly how this story ends, already have it written down. But the story called for me to start it and I refused to loose the inspiration that was flowing in me.
Just a little bit about my outline before I conclude this blog entry. I broke my outline into sections. Each section has only four chapters in it. And the outline is in bullet style. The outline wasn’t started until I did a brain dump of everything I could think of at that time about the story. From the “Brain Dump”, you piece together the story and attempt to fill in plot holes. Once you start writing your rough draft, if inspiration hits or something just doesn’t flow like it did in you outline. Be sure to make the updates to the outline to keep continuity.
And… That is about all I have for you today! Seriously, the videos explain it a little better than what I have. To each is own, I hope this helps you a little bit. Until next post, get back to writing!