Sunday, March 27, 2011

Holy Rocking Outline Batman!

Yesterday I had 9 burgeoning editors and a professional editor read my chapter by chapter outline for my new WIP. This was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had when working with editors (Excepting you Dorrie!) They read the outline ahead of class as homework, then for nearly 2 hours in class we brainstormed, filled in blanks, poked at plot holes and patched them up.

We went through extraneous characters and how to use them better (thanks Shawn!) and many great ideas were put forth (thanks Amanda, Jessica and Sandra) and I know that many of them will be used in the next outline. The whole class was a great experience, mostly because the book is not yet written, so I’m not tied to any particular scenes (don’t make me cut that one, it’s my favourite!) and I’m completely flexible on moving around the chain of events and the development of the characters and the plot.

They asked questions, why, what, where, how come and made me think about my back story and how I was going to develop it. (Thanks to Danya and Karen). They pointed out inconsistencies in my theories as well as my plot (thanks David).

This might sound painful, but it wasn’t compared to the alternative. Was this easier than working with an editor AFTER I’ve written 90k words and don’t want to be told it isn’t quite right? Hell yes! In an instant I would tell any and all author’s that this is the way to develop your story. Find a group, whether it be online or in person and go through this process, before you write anything. It will save time, heartache (no cutting those favourite scenes) and it will allow you to have a full outline to write from. No more. “Where do I go from this scene?” angst.

I still think it would be great to help other’s do this, but I know there is a lot of fear of idea stealing in this industry, warranted or not. Soooo. If anyone wants to contact me by email you can and I’d be happy to help you with your outline.


Jenica704 said...

I'm getting into an outline for a novel, which is something I've never done before. Usually, I'm a 'fly by the seat of my pants' type of writer. This post officially sold me on keeping with my outline and not scrapping it to start writing...something I really wanted to do today. I will definitely get some input on my outline. That's an idea that I hadn't thought of before, but it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for posting!

Grace @

Shannon said...

Glad it was helpful! I was always by the seat of my pants too, but the more I outline, the more I see my work improve.