Outlining and writing

So, are you stuck on the outlining portion of your book?

First off, how far are you in your outline/writing of the book?

As I mentioned in my other post, I have used ingridsnotes’s explanation of plot.. (I don’t know her personally but she explained plotting best, and for free). I have read through KM Weiland’s “Structuring Your Novel” and the book gives good examples of each plot point, but I felt I really shouldn’t have spent any of my money.

So, depending on which part of the outlining you did, skip to the section you need:
00) I am a discovery writer, therefore I do not outline
a) I just have bare elements of my book: my character / my world / crazy plot or event
b1) I have plotted each section, but have not gone over any chapter outlines
b2) I have plotted most parts of my book, but am stuck on a specific scene
c) I’ve finished my book outline, but am having difficulty putting it together when writing

Dear Discovery Writer,

All the more power to you! The more I try to outline, the more I tend to think “I’m a discovery writer, I don’t need outlines!” Haha But what I have noticed, and this is only my personal opinion, is that writing is similar to cooking.

Some people like to take what they have on hand and create whatever dish they thought of at the time. Is that you? Well, if so, is each dish a 10 out of 10? Or did you ever create some duds?

But unlike cooking, writing a book is a lengthier process, and there can be many do-overs.

I would however get some feedback from another writer, you know, to taste test before the point of no return.

Dear Passionate Beginner,

I was in your place not long ago. This is where I got stuck, for the longest. I had my “unique” angle for a story, but nothing else was fleshed out, but still… I wanted to get started in my writing!

If you feel you need to give your characters some life, try to find pictures of your character online. Actresses and actors are easy to find great pictures/different poses of to breathe some life into your characters. They grow on you once you have a mental image of them.

Once characters come to life, you will start to notice that their personalities will steer your book into directions that become more believable, and the dialogue between them will also start to show more variety.

Dear Major Plotter,

Major plotting, even by itself is a BIG, HUGE step. This is after all, the selling point of your book. You may think you have the winning formula, but do you? What I found in my writing is that… despite how I wanted my story to go, my main character wouldn’t let me go past a certain scene because she would never take another step until the previous scene was resolved. This was hard for me since, I really do have to kill a character. This character was supposed to do something drastic in the plot later on.

So my advice is yes, you can jump into writing the beginning chapters without an in-depth outline, but keep an eye out for any drastic changes caused by your characters.

Dear Stuck-on-Scene,

So, what kind of “mud” are you stuck in? Is it the “it’s-too-boring” scene, or is it the “I can’t get from point A to point B?” The key to good writing is about the balance of action and information right? I gathered from other sources, when it’s the “boring” scene, usually dialogue, there’s ways of getting away with this.

For “boring scenes”:
1) Location
One, have the dialogue in a weird place. For example, they are exploring a cave. You can easily mix in some interesting scenes while they talk

2) Distractions
So, think of the tv show “Friends”… Most of the time they’re at the coffee shop or their apartment. But, what sticks in your mind? Do you really remember every conversation? The most memorable for me was the scene of Joey eating jam. Sometimes something small can turn into something big and make the scene pleasurable.

Cant get from point A to point B fast enough?
At this point here, either you get some immediate feedback from someone who reads your novel or you just have to stick with it and write. And write and write. Good thing you can have other people pick at the scene and save yourself at the editing phase.

Dear Putting It Together,

I’m frankly envious. You are now tasked with the dreaded word count looming over your head. Key point here is to get rid of ALL distractions. That means, turn off the internet wifi on your laptop or pull the internet cord out of your computer! Stat! Jot down your writing scenes in as few words as possible and get set to turn your keyboard on fire! Also, use your music player. Only play music that feeds your writing soul. Or if that doesnt work for you, did you download the keyboard typing sounds I recommended earlier?

Congrats! You’re almost there!


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