Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z - "O" is for Outline

The Outline - one of the writer's most invaluable tool in their bag of tricks.

I'm sure everything you could possibly need to know can be found from the super smart author K.M. Weiland and her book Outling Your Novel

I love her posts on this website (link above and click on 'home'). You can learn much more than just outlining.

There are plenty of ways to use outlining to brainstorm, create, or even write, your novel.

Here is one called the snowflake, and at the bottom of this page are links to PDF outline models. However, neither of these are how I do it.

When I outline, I follow a story through scenes and show how my characters interact. I often have more than one character to follow so they have parallel flow charts on a page showing how they will interact. Sort of like this:
In my case, the orange diamonds would be characters at the top and the events would go down as the diamonds do in the third column. Sometimes there are gaps in columns where a character is happily or unhappily  involved in some other event and not part of the main story. Perhaps they are locked in a room or something. Or they could have their own events going on that later become part of the main action. At some point, they all interact in the climax. Details I think of when I am outlining would be the gray rectangles I can web off of the diamonds.

How do you outline, or how would you if you used an outline?

Some people say don't use an outline because it squashes your creativity. I have found, though, that even if the characters go a completely different way as I am writing than I had planned, I can either write a new outline, figure out how to get back to the solution I had planned in my original outline, or scrap that idea all together and just write. If an outline only gets you started, then use it! No one said you had to follow it.


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