Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Prewriting: Step 3 - Outlining

Since I’ll be spending so much of November working on my NaNoWriMo project, I thought I’d show you a bit of my prewriting process.  This is what I did during October.  This post is about outlining.

I need to know my story before I can write it.  I’ve tried writing without having an outline and it turned into a jumbled mess that I still need to fix.  Each story comes to me in varying degrees of completeness.  This story, I knew the beginning, but I wasn’t sure about the ending.  I didn’t quite know where it would end.  To work it out, I use note cards. 

Through experience, I learned to number them.  It’s a basic idea of what happens when.  I write one note card, then move to the next one.  If I’m stuck, I know I just have to write the next one.  This outline ended up being almost 70 note cards long, which is quite a lot for me.  Once I finish the skeletal structure of the story, it’s time to add the meat – the muscle.  On the back of the note card, I add a few notes about that plot point. 

Then I take it all and type it up into an outline, with a lot of spaces between each point.  Once I print it out, I add even more details below each plot point. 

Putting more meat to the outline
First draft outline

In the end, I have a complete outline and a clear idea of where I’m going.  For this NaNoWriMo novel, I created a 26 page outline, ready to guide me through the crazy month of November.  It’s my road map, keeping me on track.