Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Starting a Novel- Again

Hello everyone! Happy April Fool's Day. :-)

I hope you are all doing well in your writing endeavors. I'm currently between projects...waiting for my editor's expertise on Book 2 of my Makai series, and challenging my creative side in brainstorming/ outlining Book 3 possibilities—which is taking more research than I thought it would!

I originally wrote all three books in this series before I started querying Book 1, just to make sure Book 1 contained all the necessary clues and information for the overall story before setting it all into stone (so-to speak), and that the overall game plan held together in writing—not just in theory. Long story short, as Book 1 became more focused and fine-tuned, I had to drop many ideas and plans that weren't immediately pertinent to Book 1, and therefore, 89.7% of the original Book 3 is no longer relevant. :-) Even so, I don't think it was wasted time. I'll just call it practice writing—100k words that the world will never see.

So now, I find myself in somewhat new territory—starting with a blank page! I actually have deadlines this time, so there will be no waiting around for inspirations or moods to strike, no taking the time to see where random ideas lead, and no savoring the candy bar scenes that will eventually be cut to keep the story on track. Because as much as I hate to admit it, this writing craft is now a business.

Time to sharpen the outlining tools, and here's my plan:

1. Basic Idea/Elevator Pitch
2. Beginning/Middle/End (one paragraph each (one for each storyline)
3. Divide Beginning/Middle/End into 10-15 Chapter Sections (One-sentence description per chapter—per storyline if necessary)
4. Expand each sentence into a paragraph. (keeping track of multiple storylines)
5. Expand each paragraph into a page—with notes/pictures for relevant research.
6. Revise Elevator Pitch with the clearer picture...and start writing the dang thing

Until now, I've been importing my working files into Scrivener from Word. So with this book, I'm interested in seeing how well Scrivener keeps things organized from start to finish. I'll let you know how it goes! I'm also going to challenge myself with the brainstorming tip: When answering the question "What would happen if...?", never pick one of the first five answers. (Eek!)

Do you have outlining tips to share? 


  1. No outlining tips from me, just best wishes on your porject.

  2. Thanks, JeffO!

    I'm finding that as a Bk 3, I don't have as much freedom and blank space as I thought I did. About a year ago, I started a file listing all the "big picture" clues that were carefully planted in bks 1 and 2, making certain they survived all edits...and I'm so glad I did! (Even more so that I found the list!)

    So now I think this outlining stage will be more like a puzzle... where and when to reveal the existing info/answers, within some sort of story to tie it all together. :-) I actually enjoy this part of the writing--especially when it's going so well.. :-)

  3. Good luck! I sold book 1 and 2 to my publisher (only 1 was written at the time) and we spent a long time outlining the whole trilogy together to--like you said--make sure book 1 had all the pertinent hints and info to set up the other two. Hard work but well worth it.

  4. You can do it, Toni! Those are great goals and guidelines for moving forward. :)

  5. I don't know how you do it. Well, I do because you just outlined it with numbers for me, but still... It's such an endeavor to write a trilogy/series and I admire anyone who can keep it all straight! Good luck, Toni!

  6. It is a challenge, Katrina! I think the hardest part is remembering what gets cut during revisions, and what survives as deliberate loose ends. Like you said, keeping it all straight. :-) Thanks for the luck! I'll need it. :-)


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