Archive for November, 2015

It’s just an outline…

All artists have a process. Some processes are more fluid than others. I’ve read about writers whose processes are so disciplined and sacred, they admit to being downright neurotic about them. I’m admittedly neurotic about a multitude of things, but my writing process is not one of them.

I do an outline, but it’s never at the beginning. The beginning is the title and the excerpt that I put at the end of the previous novel when it is finished. Those first two things force me to begin the outline. I have a title. I have a tone set with an excerpt. They are both already published with the previous novel. Now I’m bound to do the work.

Outlines are work. They have structure, a time line, the introduction or re-introduction of characters, the mood and pace of the plot and its purpose in the overall story line of the series. However, my outlines are not bibles. In my opinion the rigid adherence to an outline is the first step toward making a novel formulaic, the death knell of a fiction writer’s career.

An outline is simply a guide, a rough idea as to the direction the book is going. An outline doesn’t take into account detours that the characters may run into along the way. It can’t predict where a particular scene may veer an entire chunk of plot off course, move events around on the time line, or change the nature of character relationships to add misdirection for the readers.

It’s those unintentional and spontaneous twists and occurrences that make the writing fun and make the story stay vital and exciting. Enjoy.