I have never been one for outlines. I always liked seeing the story grow organically, but that does carry some risk. For one you have to stare at a blank page every day without fail and sometimes it’s tough to get excited about that. You also run the risk of continuity issues, and writing yourself into a corner. So while just winging it has helped me with completing rough draft manuscripts, it has not helped me face my biggest enemy: Editing. I hate editing. I know I shouldn’t and I know how important it is but it’s daunting to look at the 60-90,000 word pieces of shit waiting for you in your folder with little clue on where to strike the first blow.
That’s why, with the help of the James Patterson's Master Class, I decided I should give outlining a chance. I have to say, one great thing about a thorough outline is you never have to face a blank page again. As Patterson says in his first video on outlining the only time he faces a blank page is the first draft of the outline, and that’s not intimidating at all because you’re just writing the general idea of a story down. Then you get into the scenes and before you know it you have a very fleshed out book with every chapter laid out.
I’m a quarter of the way through my first outline and already I’m chomping at the bit to get started on this book. It becomes fun because you know the direction you want to take it, and you still get that feeling of organic development because while it’s not happening during the actual writing process it is happening during the outline. Characters still come to life and you get to know them.
While I am still trying to figure this whole writing thing out, I am happy to finally familiarize myself with a good outline. For too long I sort of saw it as just a piece of paper to keep you on track but it’s really so much more than that. It’s a story board. You break down every chapter of your book before you even start it; that way when you write the first word you know exactly what you have to do and what’s to come. You also get excited about the scenes and your writing time is more efficient (more writing less thinking).
Nothing is confusing, and you can have fun lacing in twists and suspense to keep your readers on edge. I have been enjoying the Master Class thus far and will write a full review on it when I finish.
As always thank you for reading.