Monday, August 20, 2012

Outlining, outlining, and more outlining (and writing to yourself)

    I've spent a lot of time over the last few months outlining my novel. I've read a few books and looked at several formulas or breakdowns, like the basic act structure or the Snowflake method. The bottom line is that there's no easy method or formula. You have your idea and try as you might, it's difficult to wedge it into a formula or method. Use these as guidelines. They are incredibly helpful at getting your story ideas down on paper. But only spending time with your story can allow your thoughts to come together in a collective form that can be shaped and sculpted into a story.
   I genuinely feel that I have the beginning and the ending of my novel nailed down. At least for the purposes of the outline. I'm not going into the drafting process believing that either of those two parts cannot change. However, it's that murky middle that has me hung up. I know I need to spend more time on it and that's what I plan to do over the next few days, but I need to find a way to ramp up the story's energy during the middle and allow it to push the reader over to the climax.
   One of the more fruitful ways of spending more time with my story in terms of outlining or writing up the synopsis, is to tell yourself the story in a bit of a back and forth dialogue. As you're writing your outline, ask yourself questions, interrupt yourself, write away even if you're going on a tangent. It's all good. You'll be surprised at how useful it can be.
   That's it, go off and write to yourself!

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