Thursday, June 7, 2012

Writing: Outlining & Organization

This is my post for Day 7 of the Author Blog Challenge.

Book pages

Describe your outline process for your book. What do you do to stay organized?

*huge pause while I laugh my rear end off*  Oh, wait! You're serious with this question? *sits and ponders how to answer*

My name and the word "organized" are pretty much opposites. In fact, if you look up "disorganized" in the dictionary, you will probably see my name.  The first time I even got close to finishing a novel I was writing was during NaNoWriMo in 2009. I started that novel with a firm idea of who and what and nothing more. Then I write all of it by the seat of my pants.

It's not the most effective method of writing a novel. That novel is still sitting at around 60,000 words with no ending in sight. Without an outline, it's easy to get stuck. This is a bit of a problem for me, because sometimes the way I start a novel is by sitting down to write with no idea what I am going to write until my hands start typing up a story.

I used to think an outline would be too restrictive. But I am now learning that an outline can be loose and flexible and still help me get to where I need to be with my writing - a finished novel.

An outline would probably also help with continuity issues. In that first novel, I had a character who was introduced as having gone a little bit crazy due to all of her years being treated as though she already was, but as the novel continued, I realized that I had normalized her too much; she didn't act the way that she had been described in the beginning. Notations made in an outline would have helped with that as I wrote the story so that I would not have needed to go back and change several scenes in the novel involving her.

My answer to the above question is that I am not organized and I do not have an outline process for my book, but I am working on it. (If anyone reading this has an outlining process that works particularly well for them, I would love to hear about it in the comments.)


Jo Michaels said...

Oh HELL no! Go rip out your last chapter and start from where that leaves you. Choose a new path for your story. :) hehe WRITE ON!

Marla M said...

We are definitely soulmates on this issue! I seem to have a serious mental blockage when it comes to any type of organiattion. I've tried many different methods that sounded great and haven't followed through with any of them.
Probably shows in my writing! Time to try one more--the perfect one for me has to be out there.