Outline Outline Who’s Got the Outline

The last few NaNoWriMos I’ve participated in, as well as all the manuscripts I’ve written to date, have been “pantser” novels.

As in “fly by the seat of my pants” novels.

As in, “sit down at the keyboard and hope something comes out” novels.

Lucky for me, things have been coming out. Well, they had been until I stopped sitting at my keyboard. That was my bad.

In order to get back to sitting at my keyboard, I listened to RL Stine’s MasterClass, as I mentioned in my last blog. He spent quite a bit of time on the merits of outlines, so I picked one of the ideas rolling around in my brain and I outlined it.

I went chapter by chapter, named the chapter and the book (although all of that is subject to change, but again, RL Stine advises to start with a great title) and did a bird’s eye view over my plot.

It actually made me really excited to write the story. I think it’s a really great story and it’s going to be a cool novel.

Intermission for self-pat on the back. Go self.

Now I’m on character outlines. RL Stine’s outlines were not super robust, just a few lines like, “Sarah, brunette, wants to be a writer but works a day job at a university. Writes a blog when she feels like it.” I’m using the character sheets pre-loaded in Scrivener, and they’re a lot more robust, but I think it helps with storytelling.

My goal is to get all of the primary characters outlined, printed off, and lovingly placed in a three-ring binder for NaNoWriMo in November. I totally blew July’s Camp NaNo, but that’s okay. Life happens. And that’s what November is for!

Now my problem is Hot Messes 1-3. My trilogy is kind of… all over the place. I’m thinking I might take my winter break and rework the thing to be a three-POV super-novel (with a LOT of chopping) but I have a LOT of thinking to do before I think of that one. I’m going to try this outline thingie first.

Wish me luck! Are you a pantser or a planner?

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