Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Year Wiser

It wasn't that long ago that I found myself blogging about how much I hated outlines and how I just couldn't work with them. Well, I'm changing my tune. Yup, that's right. I have found out what the problem was. It wasn't that I couldn't work with an outline, or that I didn't like following an outline. No. The real problem was that I didn't know how to properly create a worthy outline. I would write up an outline and find that I veered from it quite often. My characters would surprise me and become something I hadn't expected. A new subplot would pop up. My main plot would suddenly take a life of its own. All sorts of things were happening.

Another year wiser and more writing under my belt and I've decided that outlining isn't so bad, as long as you do it correctly. As I mentioned back in October I started using this great book called First Draft in 30 Days. I think this has really helped with my outlining. I have learned what I like from the book and what I'm not crazy out, so I have actually gotten almost TWO manuscripts completed with the use of outlines now. The first one I rewrote using the outline and the second one is my NaNoWriMo novel that I should hit the 50,000 word count with this week. I'm so excited that I've decided I'm going to go back through last years NaNo novel using this same method and see if I can fix the plot holes that exist in that manuscript.

I also have to be honest its not just the outlining that has helped I've also learned more about the characters I need to have present. I found a blog post last month that told of the Seven Character Types That Build Your Story. This time when I outlined I made sure I knew what purpose each of my characters was there to serve. They weren't just there to be there, they were there to build up that story. And what do you know? I didn't have any character surprises this time around. That helped me stick to my outline.

As suspected, knowing what roles my characters serve and knowing how to outline better have created stronger story lines for me all together. I am now truly looking forward to editing. I'm not sure what I will decide to do with this latest WIP in the editing process, but I am not as worried bout getting through it as I normally am.

Your Turn -> What have you found that has made your writing better?

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