I just finished outlining, and I'm so excited to say this.
From the beginning, I knew I was never much for outlining. I'd always felt the story happen organically, and loved the surprising adventures they always took me on. Needless to say, as much as I love that feeling, outlining is so extremely vital to the process. Over the years of me writing, I began to implement more planning into my novels, but never fully committing to fully outlining.
The methods I'd use to avoid outlines were most likely unconventional. They were oftentimes more work than an outline itself. I once wrote a 30-page summary of the book, and that ended up being a mess. There was no concise direction of where chapters should stop and start. This summary was for an old iteration of a book I'm currently writing.
When I dove into this version of my book, I always knew where I wanted the story to end. The ending scene came to me at work one day and it hasn't been able to escape my head since. I always knew that's where I wanted to end the story, and I originally wanted to be surprised with how I got there. But then I started drafting, and that's where the world went wrong. I was heading into a big dumpster fire.
I started an outline after eight chapters because those eight chapters hadn't really changed in all the time I started writing this. This was the first draft where magic was a really intricate part of the story, so I needed to take a step back and look at it as more than just plot. I needed to work in my subplots as well as some other niche things that I hadn't really thought about before.
I began my outline on Canva. I wouldn't necessarily call this an ideal place to begin, but it was a place nonetheless. I have a Happy Planner, and I don't have an 8.5x11 size, so I have to make a template so I know where to cut the pieces of paper. The way I've been doing it is having a background to help me be able to cut it out and a section of white for my notes to be in.
I started off by keeping it as brief as possible, but I quickly realized that this was going to be another
Basically, this didn't work for me. I changed up how I was doing this twice, and in the end, it just didn't work for me. So, what did I do? I took out happy planner sized paper and started writing. Some chapters were really short. We're talking one or two lines, but others would be one long paragraph (depending on the importance of the chapter). But I did it. I finally finished the outline.
Or so I thought.
While outlining, I thought to myself, I need some Critique Partners. In all honesty, I wanted to work with some CP's for a while, but I didn't know where to find good ones. I happened to stumble upon two and the one wanted to workshop her outline, and since I'd just finished it, I began typing it up. By doing this, I also allowed myself the chance to expand the world and the scenes I'd already had.
I say I'm done with my outline, but I'm done for now. I'm working on my outline behind the scenes as I draft. I figured the original iteration of the outline is good for a first draft. I can change/delete/add things at a later point, but I really just want to get this story word vomited out. I always work best in editing, and it's what I love to do because I can see the story really come together at that point in time.
All in all, outlining really was something I'm surprised I enjoyed. I know there's points where I need to add more romance/add some dark moments, but that's what editing is for. Now, I'm off to draft. It's what I deserve after taking a month off of drafting.
Until next time! ~Amanda .xx