I have found I need some type of framework to keep me focused when I write. Especially since I’ve started fast drafting and I don’t have as much time to figure out what I last wrote and think what’s supposed to come next. Those of you who are working moms know that time is almost as precious as chocolate.
How it works:
I break my story into 20 grids on a big piece of butcher paper like in the picture. Each grid represents a chapter. Now, this isn’t set in stone, but it makes me think what’s going to happen first and most importantly how it will all work out in the end.
I number each grid 1-20 in black marker. Then I give each chapter a header like this:
1. MC is in ordinary world. Extraordinary thing happens.
2. MC called to adventure- denies the call
3. MC meets mentor and can no longer deny the call
On the bottom of the grid I write Setting:_______. This keeps my characters from hanging out in the school cafeteria chapter after chapter. I find setting such a great writing tool, so I like to vary it and think of places I’ve not seen in other books.
Then in the big chunk of space provided, I insert sticky notes. They are color coordinated like this:
Green- main plot
Pink- romantic subplot
Yellow- secondary subplot (for me it’s a family situation)
Blue- my antagonist (he’s got his own evil agenda going on)
I write what happens during the chapter for each of these onto the papers and stick them into place. I like the sticky notes because they come on and off easily since changes do happen as I write. They also give me a quick visual where the subplots are showing up.
And that’s it! This outline works for me because it keeps me from rambling off on some wild tangent (as I like to do), it forces me to think of the story as a whole, it’s easy to change, and it’s a great visual for what’s happening in my story.
Do you outline? If you do, what tips do you have to share?