This week we discussed the importance of finding your best writing approach, be it outlining, pantsing or a hybrid method that incorporates both. I’ve discovered the best method for me is starting with some semblance of an outline, but allowing myself the freedom to pants a few scenes or chapters, as needed.
Despite knowing this works best for me, I still often start out of the gate without my trusty outline in hand and write until a point at which I’m wishing I had that outline. I am at that fork in the road right now with a romantic suspense I’m writing.
procrastination preparation for developing the outline, I hopped onto Amazon in search of some advice on creating an effective outline. I discovered K.M. Weiland’s book, Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me, so I’m just getting back to reading the book. However, I’m loving it so far and here’s why:
K.M. shares her personal writing experiences and the evolution of her outlining process through anecdotes. It’s always interesting to me to hear the process of other writers and it’s a great way to learn new techniques that can improve my writing.
Outlining Your Novel ventures beyond K.M.’s experience and method by interviewing best-selling authors who’ve achieved success with outlining. These authors share their personal stories and best practices.
Outlining Your Novel takes you by the hand and walks you through the process, breaking it down into little steps. At the end of each chapter there is a checklist to ensure the reader has gleaned the most significant points. It also serves a list of things to do as you develop your outline.
In a preemptive strike that cuts my whining off at the knees, K.M. doesn’t just tell us about her development process, she presents inarguable reasons as to why doing so makes sense.
Even if you aren’t a plotter or hybrid, the author offers several tips that will help you to keep your story organized. Her recommendation to use a timeline calendar will save the sanity of any writer whose found herself trying to count backwards to determine the time of year or day of week of a particular scene.
My favorite suggestion thus far is to create the premise for your novel BEFORE you begin writing it. As a person who struggles mightily with pulling together the succinct little premise after I’ve written my story, I think this gem of advice is FREAKING BRILLIANT. But she doesn’t just tell you to do it. She tells you how to do it. That, my friends, is worth the five bucks alone.
You can pick up a copy of on Amazon here.
What methods do you use for outlining your story?