Monday, October 20, 2014

Advice For Writers #7: Outlining

I'm getting all worked up now. Outlining! One of my favorite things to do when writing a book! Other than writing the book itself, of course. 

An outline is basically a guide, a blueprint to your book. It tells you how to build it and makes sure you don't go off-topic. I'm going to tell you the different ways of how I outline. And yes, it is going to be very interesting. You can most definitely use my ways or not. Outlines saved me many times. Sometimes, I get lost or at a loss for words. Outlining gives answers to where you have questions or bumps in the road.

How I Outline:

The truth is that I usually write a chapter or two in the book before I start outlining. I rarely get lost in the beginning. It is more the middle part where I find myself speechless. I already know the endgame from the very beginning, and I have little plans to change the path of the conclusion. 

I write on a post-it. Oh, yeah. On a post-it. I tend to split the book into four parts instead of the usual three (beginning, middle, end). In one of my books, I split the book into seven parts. That one, I didn't like very much. I'm more used to making it more general. For example, I'm going to use this example outline: Introduction, Development, Breakdown, Conclusion. That isn't exactly what I would use (I would be more specific), but it will do for now. 

The topic is going to be... vampires. It is a cheesy and overused subject, but I think it can suffer one more time for me. At least, I'm not going to torture it into little sparkles and glitter dust. In Introduction, I'll split it into subsections and jot down my notes into a notebook (not a post-it). Exposition. World-building. Boy meets girl/girl meets boy. Vampire attack or vampire action. Some danger. Not necessarily in that order. This section is very general, though. How many books sound like this? A lot. It is up to you to make them even more specific. I'm not putting words in your mouth. Sorry.

I would do the same to every four parts. Split them into subsections and add big plot details. Once I have a good visual of the main character's path, I will continue writing. If I get lost on the way, I will simply consult the outline. Very simple. Very easy. And everything is already determined. You can always change the path, to a) make it longer, b) make it shorter, c) make the plot smoother. 


And we are here again. To be clear, I'm going to say that this is your story. This is your book. This is your outline. You can most certainly model after me. However, you shouldn't listen to what other people say (unless it is about your plot or writing, and you should take suggestions into consideration, but this is for another time). I repeat it again. This is your book. Do whatever you want with it. Burn it. Destroy it. Build it. Make it anew. You're the one holding the reins. 

Happy Writing!

-Penelope Grace

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