There are so many different ways to be a writer. Each one of us is unique in our processes. Sometimes the things that you’ve been doing forever work well, and other times everything falls flat. Today I found myself pressured by my upcoming deadline. I have a self-made goal of finishing the first draft of my novel by July 15th. With that, comes a word count goal of 60,000 words. Normally, I attempt to not get bogged down by word count goals, but they exist and are necessary.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been making very little progress on my novel. While I love to say the phrase “progress is progress,” and move on with my life, it’s not going to work with my current goal. As of today, I have 42 days left to achieve my goal if I take weekends off. (I’m a firm believer in having days off to recharge.) That leaves me with a daily word count goal of approx. 670 words. Manageable? Yes. However, I need a plan of attack.
That brings me to my topic today: to outline or to not outline? I will admit that a rough outline of the first half of my novel already exists, but what lies ahead is mostly a mystery to me. For a lot of people, it’s nice to sit down to the page and just go with it.
That wonderful feeling of unveiling points in your novel right along with the characters can be thrilling. However, sometimes we hit walls. I think with a lot of fantasy novels, it is important to do a certain amount of planning. Now I am faced with the question of whether or not an outline is right for me. For some writers it works really well and other writers despise them. I land somewhere in the middle of it all. I am not a fan of super detailed outlines.
I like general points, organized. If you keep it simple, it will work. If you don’t, it turns into an additional project. Something like this:
method to my madness:
-The setting of my novel changes a lot. It’s good to keep track.
-Having 2-3 plot points helps me to keep the flow going when my mind wanders.
-I don’t always use the note section, but if I introduce a new character to the story or something happens that I absolutely must remember to go back to, I put it there.
So, there you have it. Starting tomorrow I will be working on the outline for the rest of my novel. Hopefully it will help!
How do you feel about outlines? To outline? To not outline?
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Until next time,