Outlining Is My Friend

**Hey, guess what? Yesterday was my birthday. I’m 28 now. I refuse to believe that I’m old.**

Hello dear reader! Have you asked yourself, “If Kricket’s Korner is all about Kricket and her writing, why hasn’t she talked about it yet?” That is a very good question and we’re about to fix that problem right now.

What Is Kricket Writing? Currently, I am working on the first draft on an urban fantasy novel with a working title of White Crow. If you know me or have been following this blog for a while, you might recognize the name. I’ve been working on versions of this story/character for about 14 years, off and on. But this time around, I think we have a winner.

As of this post I am 8738 words into the first draft. (I’m very behind on my personal goals right now) Not sure how long the completed thing is going to be, but I try to shoot for a minimum of 50,000 words. I’m feeling really confident about this story, more so than I have about any project in a while. And the only thing I’ve done different is having a complete outline before I started the first draft.

Creating an outline is what I have spent the last four months doing, slowly. With encouragement from my HusbandMuse, I really pushed in the last month to get this story off the ground. He offered me a great reward system. I set a writing goal every month and if I meet that goal I get to buy a new book. That’s some seriously good incentive for me.

Anyway, my goal for August was to finish the outline. As I said before, this is the first time I’ve had a total outline of a story before writing it. Before, I used to write some, outline a little, write some more, and in the process I felt lost and confused and the story would just wonder away from me. Or I would spend a lot of writing time doing research and being distracted by stupid things.

Spending a good month on just thinking, “Okay, what happens next?”, was very good for me. I don’t have to stare at a blank screen while I’m writing, I can look back at my outline and remind myself where to go from there. Of course, this outline isn’t set in stone. Things can change if I want them to. I like to give my self room for those moments of brilliance you get while writing.

And how do I outline, you ask? It’s pretty loose. I don’t use those horribly formal outlines you’re taught in school with roman numerals and letters and numbers and bullet points and all that jazz. I write “And then…” summaries of what I want to happen in each scene or chapter. I call it “And then…” summaries because there’s a lot of “And then this happens. And then this… And that…” etc. It’s a bare bones sketch of the story, with very little detail and occasional snippets of dialogue. I also note the setting of the scene, which includes time and location, and what characters are in it.

outline

It looks something like that^^. The tabs off to the right is the rest of the outline. Yes, I blurred the words so no one can steal them 😛

So far, this is working really well. Writing goes smoothly. I’m not wasting time staring off into space. I’m in the writing zone and the words flow a lot more easily.

So, the big question for you is, do you outline or do you pants it? Leave a comment and we can chat! As always, thanks for reading and have a Wonderful Wednesday!

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