Welcome back to the blog! Today we’ve got Ella Reece talking about the outline.
Writing for me is full of “O”s. Through the span of time I’ve been writing I have taken every OPPORTUNITY to learn and grow as a writer. I’ve had some times when the outlook was not bright but with the indie revolution I am full of OPTIMISM, and continue to write my prose to feel OPPULENT – princes and billionaires – the joys of genre fiction. Today however, I bring you ORGANIZATION with my favourite tool, the OUTLINE.
For everything I write I have to have an outline, no matter how brief or rough, so I make sure I hit all the key points. For my fiction I have started to refer to this outline as beats, as it is the pulse of the work. I have never been a plotter, when I pants it is only a scene or two, to find a story. When I try and pants the whole thing, I invariably get lost. This costs me in wasted time as I meander through a rosy world with nothing going on; more importantly it costs me words. I abhor cutting words, but I like rabbit holes even less, having the signposts along the way stops most of that. When I have an outline I know what I am doing at that writing session and where the work is heading, this optimizes my writing time allowing me to maximize my word count and get to a finished product more efficiently.
I also have a habit of telling my stories out of sequence if I am missing details or a particular character is begging for attention, I can move through my outline to that segment and work on that without having to go back and retrofit a whole new story line after the work is complete. That is not to say I don’t learn things along the way, but the things I discover as I go through the actual writing, I simply jot it into my outline. This allows me to carry the forward momentum that you need to actually finish a manuscript. Further benefits to working with an outline include ensuring my scenes and chapters hit all the requirements to satisfy a reader and the story with hooks and red herrings, depending on the story.
I use an outline as part of my revision as well, so I know where the holes and gaps are. Ideally my edits start with the most problematic and down to the smallest issues instead of trying to go from start to finish. This way I am not going through and fixing the fixes repeatedly and getting bogged down. Fixing the big stuff first will cause ripples through the entire manuscript and you can then go through the outline noting where those ripples are in concentric and lessening degrees. You still need to do the edit, re-read and re-evaluate to make sure the story has the continuity and crispness required before going to your editor, but using the trusty outline certainly makes that process easier.
This is a recurring theme in many blog posts and podcasts relating to the craft and business of writing over the last few years. You can read titles like from 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron, or Write. Publish. Repeat. and Fiction Unboxed by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant and David Wright, and those guys write between 1.5 and 2 million words each year. Let’s face it, to earn a living with writing it is a numbers game, you must produce a large volume of quality work. That isn’t going to happen if you sit down each day not being sure where you are going and how you are going to get there.
I leave you there my friend as I go and discover the new map of my next world.
Ella Reece is the author of historical and paranormal romance stories. She lives in a small haunted town almost a half an hour past nowhere, where her imagination allows her to roam history and other planes. A strong belief in happily ever after, she shares her life with Darling her hero and their 2 pixies. During the week she handles corporate escalations for a computer manufacturer allowing her to explore the psyche of a wide range of individuals which help to give depth to the people in he landscape of her mind.
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellareece1
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEllaReece
Blurb for Masquerade:
Mysteries abound at the Vatican. Marcello Di Amante has been summoned to uncover who has been stealing relics from the Vatican. His reputation as a sleuth is put to the test when two murders are discovered on the day of his meeting with Pope Pius III. Marcello vows to bring the culprits to justice. His investigation brings him to England where he meets Sandrina.
Death haunts Sandrina MacPhearson, who believes her relationships are built on a foundation of fear and dishonesty. Duncan Langstaff, her betrothed, disappeared on the day of her wedding. Every night her dreams are haunted by images of a dead woman, in a pool of blood, with Duncan towering over her. Sandrina becomes entangled with Marcello’s investigation and finds herself in danger in Italy.
Intrigue is afoot at the masquerade at the Doge’s Palace in Venice, a city of secrets. What should lead to the unmasking of a murderer, instead sees the headstrong Sandrina kidnapped and Marcello must find her before any harm befalls her.
Buy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Masquerade-ebook/dp/B00D9EL2YW/
Cindy here again.
Good points on using an outline. I’ve started doing that more and find the writing goes much faster.
April 17, 2015 at 8:25 am
Excellent post! I’ve started to outline and find that it makes a positive difference.