HOW TO: NOT DIE WHILE OUTLINING!

I’m not an expert, but hey, I’ve finished TWO book outlines. (wow. amazing.) So obviously I’m qualified to talk about them! (I have NOT finished a draft, however, so no draft advice will be coming your way any time soon)


3 rules:

  1. make it something you’re proud of
  2. make it something to help you
  3. forget all rules completely

 


#1 make it something you’re proud of

I always get this huge sense of accomplishment when I finish an outline. I’m super proud of it. Then I read it. What the heck is this??? So I edit it a bit (aka flesh out those super bony chapter outlines) (I literally just had:  CHAPTER 17- they find the genie. That’s it.)

example: from Peter Pan Retelling

    • Okay this isn’t gonna work. 
    • WHYYY? 
    • Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhuuugh
    • I literally changed fonts in the middle of my outline WTH

So basically work on it until you’re super proud of it. Don’t just type a couple things and leave it to turn into an old prune. If you want a good novel, you’ll need good plot, and outlining is the best way to do it because if you want to change your plot, it’s not a big deal. (TRUST ME: rewriting isn’t very fun. For more information, see my three unfinished drafts of Otherworldly/FTIDKTT)

example: from Zenith of the Sea

    • ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND CUT!

    THE END

    Obviously this needs a bit of polishing but I finished y’all!

 

 


#2 make it something to help you

There’s no point in an outline if it doesn’t help me! (Which is why I haaaaaaaate school outlines) here’s what I like to do for my outlines.

example: from Peter Pan Retelling:

  • ENTER::: Peter/Pan/Felix K Rigby
    • He does a report on human gullibility and how people in authority can sway unknowing people into anything- worse than hypnosis. 
  • NEXT PRANK PLANNED: the classic cage. Nicholas Cage pictures hidden in every desk. A giant Nicholas Cage hanging from the ceiling. Nicholas Cage on every security camera. They wore hoodies and nicholas cage masks. They sign their ‘name’ aka: LB made of Nicks. 
      • “Y’know, you can tell what kind of a person someone is by their candy preferences.” “Yeah? How so?” “Someone who hates chocolate is a monster.” *laughs* “Those who prefer skittles and starbursts are creative.” *nods* “And those who ask for everyone’s vaguely suspicious caramels are truly insane.” “Vaguely suspicious caramels?” “Those weird plastic-wrapped caramels everyone’s afraid to eat. I have exactly six. How many do you have?” “Four.” “Can I have em? I like to collect them.” “Wow. You are insane.”

Pg 1: synopsis/blurby

Pg 2: meet the characters- what they look like, how they act, other random bits, what their hogwarts house is.

example: from Peter Pan Retelling

  • Scotty: CONCEITED AS HECK. but he’s truly loyal and has great ideas. Very honest; almost blunt. Hates roleplay games. Flirtatious. OKAY HE’S JAMES FLEAMONT POTTER. He’s obsessed with anything music. He sings anything from Snow White to Led Zeppelin. Gryffindor. Youngest of the juniors. Deep Secret: He has a gigantic crush on Scarlett Johansson and cried when she died in Endgame

Pg 3: begin the outlining.

From then on, it’s a bunch of bullet points screaming at me to get my crap together and end their torment.

example: from Zenith of the Sea

  • CHAPTER FOURTEEN:
  • Let’s get inside that Zenith. 
  • The trample through the jungle and come upon a cave
  • This is literally all I have for chapter 14? THE CURSED CHAPTER.

 


#3 forget all rules completely

seriously. Just have fun with it. Write whatever. I find if there’s no rules, I have a lot more fun. (For school, I haaaaaaaate outlines with a passion. EW. NO.)

I specifically LOVE to put inside jokes and sarcasm and literally everything in there to make it more interesting.

Instead of: Upset, she takes the knife and kills him.

I use: DIE, YOU FILTHY RAT! *she stabs him*

It’s much more fun.

ALSO. I add bits of dialogue and scenes in there too! If I have a good idea about something I write it out so I don’t forget when I begin the draft.

example: from Zenith of the Sea

  • She takes him to a restaurant: her favorite on the islands. Hungry Monkey. It’s a diner-type place, and she’s determined to make him try pancakes. Pancakes. PANCAKES. 
  • “What do mermen eat, anyway?”
    “Fish. Sea grass- which is completely disgusting. Sometimes fruit.”
    “Do you cook the fish? If so, HOW?”
    “Yes, we cook it. It’s a speciality though. Very expensive.”
    “On Earth, uncooked seafood is a specialty. We cook everything or else we’ll get sick.”
    “Okay. I know how to kill you now.”
    “Seriously, Caspian?”
    “Seriously, CAPTAIN?”
  • Anyway, Cas tries pancakes. And chocolate. HE IS AMAZED! #delicious

IS THIS HELPFUL IN ANY WAY? HOW ARE YOUR WRITING PROJECTS GOING? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ME?

5 thoughts on “HOW TO: NOT DIE WHILE OUTLINING!

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