The dreaded word…
I hate outlining. But the reason I hate outlining is that it involves thinking of things I don’t know. It’s admitting to myself that I don’t have all the groundwork to start this novel- and that’s okay.
Still have to outline the damn thing. So in light of Prep-tober, here is my personal way of outlining. I do not take credit for being the first person to do this. This method is a mix of methods I watched on Youtube, read on blogs, etc.
- What’s the idea? What is the spark that made you think, “Wow, this would be a great idea for a novel”? Write that down. Write down every thought you have about it. Little bits of dialogue, character names, subplots, random scenes… pretty much every idea you have about it. Do not hold back. I keep doing this until I have about 3/4 of a word document filled with various bullet points.
- Get out the index cards or post its. I write down every single bullet point on an individual notecard. On the back, I write an extension of the scene or anything I know about the scene that I want to include in it. Some of my notecards have nothing on the back. Again, that’s okay.
- I lay out the notecards on my bed and get to organizing! What’s the beginning, the middle, the end? The good thing about notecards is that I can line them up and keep switching them around until I like how it flows. During this time, I usually see plot holes and things that need to be added. I write them on a notecard and add them where I see fit.
- Type it up! I do this on Scrivener, but any word document will do. Plot holes will become apparent in this stage, too. I like to ask myself questions in my outline if I’m not sure what will happen. Example:
- Jade runs into a lion- Why did Jade run into a lion? Where did she run into a lion? What does she do?
- Stare at my outline in amazement.
- This is extra. I got the idea from Kim Chance and it helped me SO MUCH. After I outline, I put the individual scenes into the categories of Freytag’s pyramid. This is the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of your story. I like to do this because it shows me what I need more of and in what part of the story.
Outlines are not set in stone. They can be changed at anytime and the depth of your outline is up to you. Some people do bullet pointed scenes and some people do the general idea.
Happy Prep-tober! 🙂