Outlining Your Novel

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Stole the title from K.M. Weiland‘s A-mazing book, Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success.

One, because that what this post pertains to. 

Two, because it’s freaking amazing. 

Three, because I’m reading it right now. 

Four, because it taught me a lot about outlining and planning 

 

But what the book taught me wasn’t so much in the words or instructions, though those are helping me a LOT right now, too! One thing, the big thing, that I learned while reading this, is what it means to be a writer. To be a writer is to question. Why do people act the way they do? What makes people tic? (tick?)  In any case, this post is part regular blog post, part book review (even though I’m only half-way through it.) 

Back to being a writer. You must question. Question everything. Question the obscure, the normal, the obvious. Question the way we’ve always done things. Question history, question science. Anything and everything. Nothing is too outlandish. To be a writer, you have to have an unquenchable thirst for questions. Not for answers. We’re not here to provide answers. We, as writers, are here to make readers feel. Now, onto plotting and the book. 

 

Plotting is a thing that is met with either derision, or ever-lasting love. There isn’t much of a middle ground. You either swear by it, or swear it off. I used to swear it off. I hated the idea of plotting or outlining. Now, I hesitate to start anything without giving it a go again. But I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, as I am still in the “discovery” part of Blame the Moon, and didn’t think I knew enough about the novel or the characters or the world to even start planning. So I did some world building. But I stopped, because I am one of those people who could over plan a world to the point where the story would be forced to mold to the world. Instead of the other way around, as it should be. 

So I stopped world building. But then I was stuck, how to start figuring things out? On Twitter a day or so ago, I saw a link to a blog post with another writer talking about her experiences reading Outlining. I’ll admit, I didn’t read the blog post, but I did remember that I had the book on my kindle. So I pulled it up and started reading. 

And let me tell you, it sparked so many ideas for Blame the Moon, you have no idea. The one thing that really kicked it into high gear was the use of “What If?”s and “What’s Expected?” I will leave it at that, but to me, it was revolutionary. 

I highly recommend any writer, plotter or pantser, get this book. Not only for the plotting/outlining itself. But from taking your idea from that first spark to a full-blown novel. I know I am. 

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3 thoughts on “Outlining Your Novel

    theryanlanz said:
    August 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Great post on outlining. It brought up a few things I hadn’t in my post on plotting: http://theryanlanz.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/styles-of-plotting/

    K.M. Weiland said:
    August 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I’m just tickled pink you’ve enjoyed Outlining Your Novel so much. Makes my day to hear it’s been useful!

    James Hubbs (@psyphi) said:
    August 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Yes. K.M. Weiland is amazing. I religiously read her blog. It’s extremely helpful to me as I am an incessant outliner. I don’t start writing until I have every paragraph indicated in the outline. Things change once I start writing, of course. But I need the security of knowing exactly where the story is going before I can relax and concentrate solely on the prose. And since Weiland is all about outlining, her advice is always very useful to me.

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