Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Do You Outline?

Let's continue with the questions you asked last week.

Nicole Pyles blogs over at The World of My Imagination. She says she's a very visual person--sounds like a girl after my own heart. In fact on her blog she has a page she's created for her video poetry. There are three up so far and they are all very well done.

She asks: Do you outline? If you do in any way, how detailed do you go?

This is going to be an interesting answer. Um, yes and no? I'm really more of a pantser, but I'm learning to plot more, and that means some form of outlining.

I'm a list maker by nature. I'll start listing bullet points of what events need to happen.
Often a bullet point will be more questions than actual ideas. For instance, (possible spoiler/teaser alert for Orek) one bullet point reads:
  • How/why does Landry get captured? Why isn't Talia with him? Perhaps...(a long list of ideas). Is anyone looking for her? Why or why not? How is she going to rescue him? Will she find help? Who would help her and why? How is this going to stretch Talia and Landry so they grow closer to where I need them?
There are more details, but that gives you an idea of how I start. Instead of a brainstorming flow chart, I write lists. The problem is I have pages of text and it's often hard to spot the good ideas amidst the rambling.

So I tried the tent beat sheet from Nanowrimo.
I couldn't find the link on the Nano site, but here are the links to my google copies.
Tent Beat Sheet 1
Tent Beat Sheet 2 Scroll down to page 2. For some reason it has a blank page 1.This is the same as sheet 1, but adds boxes for your hook, pitch, and themes.

This approach is more visual and easier to keep the main plot defined. It's easier for me to deal with, then I list details and subplots not covered by the tent somewhere else. Technically you could fill out one of these for each subplot if you wanted.

You can also check out the Snowflake Method. I started a book this way once but didn't get very far. It looks like a great idea, but didn't work for me personally. I felt too confined by the process. *shrugs* I know it works great for other people. Or so I've heard.

I think the real trick is finding what works for you. There are as many different ways to write a novel as there are novelists. Personally, I'm still playing around with things to find my perfect method. I will say I've never outlined the way they taught us in school. 

How about the rest of you? Do you outline? How do you do it?