Is it even possible to outline wrong? I did not think so but I was wrong. As I have been going through the painstaking outlining process in the 90 Day Challenge I have discovered the reason my outlines were not helping when it came down to actually writing. My outlines looked like this:
- dude dies it’s awful
- Chapter 1
- new dude wakes up
- BATTLE, BATTLE, BATTLE
- The End!
Ok it wasn’t that bad the “Dude’s” had names! Really though there was no depth. They could not be shallower. That “Battle, battle, battle” bit was actually part of one of them. Actual, helpful, outlines are more than just the sequence of events. They are a map with pictures. Each and every scene laid out with as much detail as possible without actually writing the scenes. The setting, the characters, large and small, that take part and what key plot elements take place.
It seems that a lot of people hate outlines and I used to be one of them. I really did not see the point. Until a few minutes ago when the rough outline came together on my wall and I was able to see where I needed more personal bits, where I needed to plant clues and, where I was forgetting a key player. My story is ten times better because I wrote it all out and threw it up on the wall. That does not mean you need to take over an entire wall in your house. It can be a simple word document, an excel spread sheet or even a power point. I put mine on the wall because I needed the visual. I also had the space.
Give it a try to see if an outline helps your novel as much as it helped mine.
Here is the link to the book I am using, 90 Days To Your Novel by Sarah Domet