30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- Outlines

I really meant to write about this right after I wrote about prompts, but I got distracted. I know...I was shocked too. Me distracted? That hardly ever happens...ooooh...shiny....

I used to scoff at people who used outlines. I didn't want to be confined to the constraints of an outline. I was a creative spirit. No outline was going to cage me. I would be free to write what I want and hear me roar. Oh sweetie, sit down.

So it turns out having a game plan (even one that is literally written in pencil) is pretty handy to keep the plot moving a long at a steady pace. Knowing where you want your characters to get and what (in general) is happening next, is rather effective...and surprisingly was not at all restrictive or confining as I had feared. So the protests died on my lips as I just picked up my pen and wrote the next scene for the draft.

My outline is not what I made my students do when I taught English. Not that formal, not that scary. I am not writing a five-paragraph essay where every paragraph needs a topic sentence and at least two supporting details. I am writing a novel and that is so much more complex and messy than any essay I have ever written...not to mention the novel trumps the essay in length, breadth, depth, and most other ways we have of "measuring" the writing that gets done.