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Do you outline?
Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 3:59 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

I have to admit, I'm don't work from a traditional outline. Instead my first draft tends to be a rough run through to get the plot and characters in place. Then I go back and build around it.  

I've known writers who are staunch defenders of the outline process and others who love to create on the fly.  What works best for you and why?

Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:29 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

Well, with this many topics with overlap, we'll probably have similar threads popping up all over the place. For me, an outline would be structure and plot. For others it might be getting started.
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 10:20 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 216

I go gangbusters on the outline.

First, I studied the overall construction of books in my genre. This involved a lot of "stickies" on the pages to give myself a sense of where the climatic scenes took place.

Then I wrote a highly detailed synopsis. Then I looked over the synopsis to see if the plot had the right ebb and flow and if I'd adhered to the formula specific to this genre. I probably worked on this for about a month before I even started writing the novel itself.

Once I had that structure in place, it was a lot easier to actually write.
KD Sarge
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 2:07 AM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 16

I've found that the more I write, the more likely I am to outline. My first novel was not planned in any way--I just wrote, and when I didn't know what to do next, I threw something random in.

You might guess it's a mess. 298,000 words worth of mess.

Since then I've experimented with outlining methods, but I haven't found anything yet that really fits. Generally, though, I can come up with a decent story while poking at a method that doesn't suit me.
Cynthia Justlin
Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 10:51 PM
Joined: 3/17/2011
Posts: 3

I like a rough outline. I've found Michael Hauge's Screenplay Structure a wonderful resource to mapping out my turning points. I also like Vogler's Hero's Journey and find that my plots usually follow that arc. I don't outline every scene, but I know the major ones. That, along with detailed characterization, gets me through the book.
Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011 8:40 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 3

I like to start out with an outline of at least the 10 major scenes of the novel and what order they need to go in. That way I know where I need to head towards. Doing a detailed outline makes me struggle more with the writing process for some reason.
Alexander Hollins
Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 4:18 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

I do a major plot points outline, and try to keep to it. but stuff tends to... crop in here and there.
Robert C Roman
Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:36 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383

I outline from climax to intro, but all in my head, and then I write it in the other direction.
Ava DiGioia
Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 11:15 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 39

I do outline; I like to term it a flexible outline.

I map out my major story arc, plot points and create a synopsis. When I get a brainstorm for a scene, I note it and add it to the approximate point of the outline it would occur in the story. I use a binder or board to keep track.

I'm visual, so I enjoy creating full histories and storyboards for my characters. That's how I get to know them.
Dan O'Shea
Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011 9:01 PM
Joined: 2/28/2011
Posts: 5

I guess I'm the exception here. I started out outlining, but I gave up on it. The work came out feeling stale.

For me, the whole trick is getting a character I really connect with, and then putting him or her in a situation I find interesting. I then sort of follow the character (and characters, as things progress) around in my head and take notes. I really have no idea how a book is going to end when I start writing it. It certainly keeps the action from becoming too predictable.

I know people in both the plotter and pantser camps, and I really think you just have to find what works for you.

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2011 2:48 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245

I do. But it's rough. "This happens then this then this." It hits the major points that cover the basics. Why my protag, why the antag, what's at stake.

Getting from plot point a to b to c and to z is left in the air.

Then I outline in painstaking detail (after the draft is done) and use that overly-detailed outline to help revise.
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:56 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

Dan said "I guess I'm the exception here. I started out outlining, but I gave up on it. The work came out feeling stale."

Actually, I have the same problem. I really tried to work from an outline to speed up my writing, but the resulting story felt so flat that I had to shelve it. But I've decided to call the way I write an "untraditional outline" because if I call it a rough draft, people don't really expect it to be as rough as it is.

I can't think through an outline in the way most people do -- this will happen, then this, and then this. I need the characters to be involved. I have to put them in the scene and see what they do, which leads to another scene. Or sometimes sends me bouncing back to draft a previous scene to explain something else.

I also may draft out a scene this way and then look at it and decide it's just doesn't feel right. With an outline, I feel pressured to leave a scene in because that's what I need to move to the next step. Without an outline, I can toss the scene and try something else. In the end, I feel happier with the work, and oddly, so do my characters.

Alex Hollingshead
Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 9:52 PM
Joined: 5/2/2011
Posts: 61

I get a few things done. I write fantasy, so some base worldbuilding (flexible, though) gets done, and by necessity, some key story points are planned out so that I can figure out what needs to be built for the world. It's hard to really plan any one aspect without doing something in the others, but it gives me a lose sense of everything and I tighten it up during and after a couple of drafts. I also try not to keep my outline too strict. I won't say "John goes to the mall", but instead "John buys an iPad" and "John meets Mary". Those are the things the (hypothetical) scene needs to accomplish, but how they come to be I'll leave until I'm up to that point in the story.
Elaine Turner
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 8:03 PM
Joined: 5/3/2011
Posts: 5

The characters are the first thing that pop into my brain and their initial scenario. That first sentence, if I really have something, turns into 5 pages. When it is at that point then I already know what my tentative major conflicts are going to be. From there on I keep a fluid outline of my WIP. I want to stress the Fluid part, lol. When my manuscript is reaching the 35K word point I must have an outline so I can look at it and see the flow of things, when my brain gets bogged down and writers block threatens.
Jay Krow
Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 9:28 PM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 1

I've never been much on outlining. I know it works for a lot of folks, but I get bogged. Before I start a story I already have the main idea in my head, and while I do jot down notes along the way, they're hardly organized. This just works best for me. Everyone is different.
Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 12:28 AM
Joined: 5/8/2011
Posts: 52


It's me, that crazy girl from CC

How have you been, hun? I miss reading your posts on writing. I learned a lot from you. I don't think that without people like you I'd be in the position I'm in right now. (Harper Collins read a partial of mine and requested a full. Can you believe it?!)

I also don't outline or plan much. My current WIP I'm trying to use a loose plan to try something new, but I know I can't be too strict because I need to follow my character and I never know what they are going to come up with but it's usually better than anything I could have planned.

For me it works best to have a few general ideas and some strongly developed characters, and from there to let the plot and character develop forward organically. I can't plan or my story comes out stilted and unnatural, but I know some planners who stick to their plans strictly and their writing turns out good, so it works for them. I also know some total pantsers who are the most amazing writers I've encountered.

Do you ever get into that dream-like state when you write? you go back and read and think "who wrote this?! certainly not me!"

Sometimes it's tough because I really "get" a character but if I don't write them for a while I can "lose" them. This might be because their voice was all FEEL and not PLAN. but if I can stick to them the way they first "came to me" they end up being some of my best characters.
Tawni Peterson
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 4:28 PM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 69

I am somewhere in between. I like to get major points out and a general arec, but I find if I stay too tied in to it the s like to really story comes out flat. I have find that what works best for me at this point is working from a general outline, and make sure to get that stuff down, and really developing the characters, their histories, etc. in my head. (Even stuff that likely wont make it into the story) And try to let them tell the story to me...if that makes sense.
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:11 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 20

I started out as a pantser, not knowing where I was going or how I ended up in a place that wasn't anything like the beginning of the story... Then I moved to the Snowflake method, thinking that would help me outline without giving me visions of High School English class... No. Dice. I moved onto Holly Lisle's Notecarding (, which ended up with a better result, but it still just didn't feel right to me.

Finally, I came across a blog post by Helene Boudreau with the title Plotting... OCD Style ( I adore this. It's simple page that I can hit the key points per chapter, and I generally just write a sentence per scene under each of the chapter headings. So far, this method seems to be the one for me.

Of course, who knows... the next piece I might find something else that strikes my fancy.
Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:24 AM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 56

I love my outlines. I'm very big on them. I used to have a romantic notion of pantsing, but I've long learned it just doesn't work for me. I need to hash it out, or I get lost in the woods.

I wrote a blog post on my outline structure. Check it out:
Samantha Jane
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 6:17 AM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 15

I'll start with some scenes I've written, put them in order, and build an outline around that. Then that outline is blown to hell, because the Characters do what they want. I wrangle them after I get some more details.
Steve Yudewitz
Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 10:55 PM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 24

I'm a half seat of the pants, half outline type of writer because I need different levels of structure in different parts of the creative process. I start using an outline somewhere around the time I've finished my early character sketches and the first three or four chapters. Before then, it is a fruitless exercise for me. My characters' back story, traits, and thought processes need to be clear to me before I can see how the main story and its subplots will roll out.

At stages in the process, I completely ignore the outline. After all, the outline is just a tool. When the tool no longer helps me, I put it aside until I need it again.

Writing without the constraints of an outline helps me sort out conflict and plot. It almost always changes the story for the better.

I treat the outline like a project plan. It is a living document that has to account for change. Sometimes, I will set out plot points and discover that there is an easier way to move the story along. I'll realize that two characters don't need to be forced into a scene for the purpose of revealing a clue to the murderer's identity, and will find another way. Or I'll get feedback from a critique group that a pivotal chapter is weak, and end up moving from plot point 'c' to 'd' in a different way.

I think whether you outline or choose not to depends entirely on what helps you put together a strong cohesive story. If you need structure to write, outlines are for you. If you view a blue print as a prison, it may slow you down. Either way, I recommend trying it.

Kimberly Jones
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 3:40 PM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 9

I am OCD about outlining. I damn near write the whole book. I like have a skeleton to work from. As I write, I imagine myself adding the organs and muscles to create a body of work. I don't like not knowing where I'm going. As I come up with new ideas or plot developments I simply add them in and keep it moving. I know that doesn't work for everyone. It's funny, I meet people who are the exact opposite and they thing I'm crazy, lol.
Kat Day
Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011 12:53 PM
Joined: 12/29/2011
Posts: 10

I wrote the book, it got lots of rejections, now I'm going back and analyzing its plot points, doing a flow chart (similar to outline?). Does anyone use the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing? I know it's old but it makes a lot of sense. I feel like mapping out the story gives me a lot more insight into what goes where, when it should happen, what parts are too long, where another character's POV needs to come in.

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011 9:29 PM
You might want to post a chapter or so, Kat, to get feedback on any writing/presentation problems that might be contributing to those rejections.

Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 9:38 AM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 1

I am a discovery writer.  I am on my first novel and I literally wrote about 50 pages by hand before I realized I needed to do an outline to keep track of everything.  The problem with discovery writing is that the story kept expanding as I wrote so I took a step back, bought Scrivener and started doing some outlining, char development, world building. 

All in all as a writer I believe you should use what works for you.  I am probably unconventional but in reality it works for me.  I would figure out what works for you and use that.
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 2:26 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Bumping this up!

Elizabeth Moon
Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:54 AM
Joined: 6/14/2012
Posts: 195

I don't outline.   I can't outline.  I can't force the story ahead of itself. 

That being said, if you don't outline, you'd better have a very strong intuitive grasp of structure, and you'd best be willing to do structural revision later.  

I think people vary widely in how much they can, or need to, outline (or not outline) and part of becoming the best writer they can be is learning how their particular mind works, and then going with it instead of fighting it. 

Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 10:23 PM
I don't so much outline as I use a "working timeline". What I do is figure out the sequence of the major events and figure out what needs to happen when and write that down. I work from there.

Nichole S
Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012 1:24 PM
Joined: 7/6/2012
Posts: 1

For my first book, Revealing the Revolution, I didn't write an outline, and it shows. It just sort of goes along. For its sequel, Chasing the Underground, I wrote an outline (mostly because I came up with the idea while still writing the first) and it's much easier to write and stick with the main idea, plot, and timeline. As I go through the plot, I may have ideas as to how I'd like to write a scene, so I write it at that point and add it into the timeline (which is, of course, subject to change as I write up to that point). My outlines go from a single line per plot point, to a full paragraph depending on what needs to be dealt with.
Elizabeth Moon
Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012 11:51 PM
Joined: 6/14/2012
Posts: 195

It's a matter of finding out how your particular writer-brain works best.  For some, that's very careful outlining/story-boarding before they begin to write the text.  For others, it's a combination...a general idea, then using outline skills (without outlining the whole thing) from time to time as the story grows.  For others, it's a pure run of story.

I do a lot of research for the books--and some short fiction (the alternate history "Tradition" took months of research and it's only about 9000 words).  Sometimes this results in detailed outlines of short scenes to make sure they have a story arc, and aren't just research dumps. 

Toward the end of a book, when I've got it out where I can see it,  I do much more analytical stuff to it, including--if necessary, a full outline--this counts as the first level background to revision, making sure the design of the structure is sound.  But I can't do that before I write it.

Audrey McKenzie
Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 1:12 PM
Joined: 11/14/2011
Posts: 6

I write a detailed summary but not so detailed that I feel it locks me into what I've laid out because once I begin writing the story, I'm always changing it. I only use the summary for the main plot points and refer to it sometimes to make sure that I'm not wandering away from my original design.

Sneaky Burrito
Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 2:22 PM
Joined: 5/28/2012
Posts: 43

I outline.  That's not to say I stick to it 100%, or that the 7th draft reflects the 1st.  I wrote something 7-8 years ago without an outline, and it was crap.  No real conflict, characters changing ages in the middle (and I don't mean naturally getting older), inconsistencies in the amounts of time it took to travel between two locations, etc.

Remembering that, when I started my first "real" manuscript (as in, I actually sent it out to a publisher), I did quite a bit of brainstorming and outlining.  One thing I realized during the process is that I had too much to include.  So, I split the outline and saved the unused part for the sequel.  I might not've realized I had too much, without the outline.

Timeline is important to me, but a little bit of a separate issue.  During an early draft (2nd or 3rd maybe?) I actually assigned dates to each scene and moved them around to be in chronological order.  This was important because if three groups of characters needed to be in the same place at the same time, their prior journeys needed to be timed appropriately.  I'm already screwing this up a little bit as I work on my second manuscript, but at least I realize it now and can focus on that when I start revising.

The real benefit of outlining to me, however, is that I don't get writer's block.  If I know where I'm supposed to be going with the story, I write my characters from point A to point B.  It might be uninspired crap.  But it means words on the page.  And I can usually tell, as I'm writing, when I might not be doing my best.  These bad/boring scenes plague me during the course of my everyday life.  And by the time I get around to revising, I've usually stumbled upon the solution.

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 4:32 AM
Joined: 8/2/2012
Posts: 4

Usually I brainstorm general ideas for the whole plot, then draw them together chapter by chapter. I try and populate a chronological list from a mind map before starting each chapter. Means I can get it all out of my head and organise it a little.
Sneaky Burrito
Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 11:41 AM
Joined: 5/28/2012
Posts: 43

I actually don't organize by chapter, even though I outline.  I just write, then divide into chapters later.  This may be a little unorthodox, but there's a reason for it.

During revision, I assign dates to every scene and organize the manuscript chronologically.  Sometimes I have to move entire scenes for the timeline to flow correctly.  Move enough scenes, and a preplanned chapter could have little left.  So I get the flow right, then find that the chapters have usually created themselves.

I guess the reason I do all of this is to make sure that any references to weather, harvests, etc., actually make sense.  If someone needs to slip and fall off an icy rooftop, it had better not be August.  If someone is going to have a baby, the pregnancy had better last around nine months.  If someone is pressing cider, it makes more sense for it to be autumn.  And so forth.

Tami Veldura
Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012 11:49 AM
I've tried to strike a balance between outlining and giving myself room to explore the story as I go.

My outlines tend to start with an opening scene and an ending scene- generally I know that much before I start writing. A lot of hind-brain brainstorming goes into a work before I even get this far, but generally at this point I know one or two major characters (love interest if there is one), the major problem/plot and an idea of where all these people will be at the end of the story.

So I write two bullets, the opening scene and the closing scene, just a few sentences if that.

There has to be some major event that happens in between these two to get everyone from one to the other, so I fill in that bullet point- I tend to know my big climactic scene even if I don't know all the players involved.

And I just repeat the process, adding the major turning scene between any two given bullets until I'm down to scene-by-scene walkthroughs. This makes sure my main plot is well defined before I even get started and prevents me from running off-track.

Once I have those main-plot bullets down I fill in with a single strand of a minor plot from beginning to end. If there's a second minor plot I go back and fill that one in start to finish. That way I don't drop a plot half-way through writing.

This is a lot less detailed than it sounds. Each bullet might look something like this:

*Cray and Whiplash in Italy tracking Pirates find message in a bottle.
*Cray in love with a Pirate, Whiplash is dead.

Well how on earth did everyone get from one to the other?

Cray and Whiplash in Italy tracking Pirates find message in a bottle
*Natalie (a pirate) authored the message, she was kidnapped when she was little

Cray in love with a Pirate, Whiplash is dead

Well now I know 'a Pirate' from my last scene must be Natalie, so I can change that detail to fit. But how do we learn Natalie sent the message? And how does Whip end up dead?

Cray and Whiplash in Italy tracking Pirates find message in a bottle
*Cray and Whip captured by Pirates!

Natalie (a pirate) authored the message, she was kidnapped when she was little
*Natalie helps Cray and Whip try to escape!

Cray in love with Natalie, Whiplash is dead

And so on until I feel like I have enough of a plot for a story. I keep asking questions about how one thing leads to another until I have no more questions. This -generally- means I've covered any plot holes. Not fool-proof of course, but pretty effective.

Once I have my outline it's a very easy matter of sitting down and writing out the details of the story scene by scene. I love checklists and the outlines provide a roadmap for me to follow. This is particularly useful when I don't want to write or am not sure where I'm going next. I just reference my checklist and move to the next thing.

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 4:00 PM
Joined: 10/21/2013
Posts: 1

I'm just starting out .... I believe I may benefit from a solid outline. Can you recommend one?
Aira Philipps
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 4:51 PM
Joined: 8/18/2013
Posts: 31

I have never been able to outline. Not even in school. I would write my report and do the outline later only because it was required. I do much better just writing and going with the flow. I'll make daily notes where I should go with the story next just as a reminder, but I do best when I just let my mind go off on it's own.
Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 11:51 PM
I've tried the outlining thing, especially for more complicated projects, but it just doesn't work for me.  I'm in the "write on the fly" camp.
Linnea Ren
Posted: Friday, January 3, 2014 10:29 PM

For me it depends on the story. I don't do a traditional outline when I do outline. What I do is a chapter by chapter synopsis of what I want to happen and hope it follows. Often it does. Till I revise.

However, one of my longest running stories I've tried to outline over and over, but nothing worked. Finally I said screw it and just sat down to write. Ten days later it was done. No outline required. 

So for me it depends on what you need. No one thing works for everyone, and even then no one thing works for an author. If you need to outline, outline. But how you outline should work with your mind and make sense to YOU. No one else needs to even see the outlines. Might make them easier. 

Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 12:39 PM
Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 12

I do outlining, however, I only write the major plot points of the story, as well as the characters involved in it, as it makes everything easier for me when I finally decide to write the story. We frequently discuss outlining in our bookclub because you can tell that a book is outlined if it's an amazing book, but in reality, it's really hard to tell what book is outlined or not because people have different writing styles.
Mimi Speike
Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 5:59 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

I don't know what you're saying. You say, you can tell a book is outlined. Then you say, it's hard to tell. Can you clarify?
Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 10:58 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

@genfr1tzie--what is that link that you have been inserting into your discussion posts? Please clarify why you are using it. If it's for spam purposes, you'll be banned from the community. Please refer to our Community Guidelines.


I am using an outline for my WIP. It's a hot mess. Who has tips for setting up an outline? How does the outline change as you write your draft--do you edit and change things in the outline doc, or is it a tool you use only before you start drafting?

Amber Wolfe
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 3:25 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Well, I try outlining. At least, with Destiny's Bond I have. Unfortunately, I kinda haven't used the outline--started the book before I did the outline, so, yeah. 


Me, I write the basic premise for the chapter, a simple couple sentences that describe what's going on, as well as for the scenes within the chapter. I feel doing it this way keeps me following the thread of the novel while leaving me open for creativity. Like this: 


 Chapter One:

 Scene One: Andrea discovers a strange pendant in a merchant shop and steals it.

 Scene Two: Andrea is captured by the village guard and brought before the headman. She manages to escape persecution by hiding the pendant in a potted fern. 




I also highlight the scenes different colors to give me an idea of which character is the POV character of the scene. Doing this helps me to see if I'm giving one character too much attention and the others not enough. 


For example, Destiny's color is silver. Arashi's is red. Karissa's is green. Nobility's is rose, and so on. 


I'm planning to create an outline for the other two Dark Destinies novels, as well as finishing the one I began for the first. Might keep me on track for the last few chapters I need to write. Then I'll write some more for the other stories I've got churning about in my head tongueout



Lucy Basey
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 7:00 AM
Joined: 4/23/2015
Posts: 38

 My last WIP was planned backwards. I knew how it would end, and I knew roughly why it would end that way, but my MC's journey wasn't planned. In fact, it probably wasn't even planned backwards, I think it was planned in a random order. Events would come to me that would help my character reach the end of the book and then I went about jotting them down and I ended up moving scenes around after I'd finished the novel.

I try to outline as much as possible, but sometimes a story just has to be written.

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 12:17 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

I find myself outlining, then writing, then something happens that wasn't in the outline, then I add it to the outline, and get another idea! I've never really gone back and forth between docs like that, but it actually seems to be working!


@Amber, love this idea of the color coding. I might need to do this!! You are brilliant. Have you always been really organized like this?

Amber Wolfe
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015 10:18 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Hi, Lucy


To answer your question, no, I wasn't always this organized: Normally, I'd charge headlong into a story and start writing it with little more than an idea in my head. A beginning, and ending, and so forth. To say the least, those attempts weren't pretty. At all. Of course, this was before I buckled down and got serious about my Craft.


Now, I have Character Sheets for each of my main characters, for all my novels/novel ideas. I have Scene/Chapter Lists. I have lists of words I need to wheedle out.


Now, Destiny's Bond is the only novel I tried writing a Scene/Chapter List for. I'm beginning to feel I'm a person who just has to let the story come to me--trying to map it out in advance doesn't seem to work for me. I find it's better to write out the story, and make the list at the same time, to gauge which characters are getting the most attention and such.


Now, I do usually have a sense of what the story is going to be about before I begin. Right now, I have four different novels--including Destiny's Bond--that want written. Here are the titles, Destiny's Bond, The Hunter, Amethyst, and Scarlet Crimson.


I've written Character Sheets for the main characters in each of these novels. Now, not all of them are full yet, but that's because I'm still getting acquainted with the people these stories surround. As I'm writing the story, I'll learn who they are, what their personalities are.


So, no. I've not always been organized. But now that I am, I'm doing a lot better, I think.



Amy Britton Mendoza
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 6:56 PM
Joined: 12/16/2013
Posts: 2

I brainstorm through freewriting and informal bullet points rather than making a formal outline.  I also create character sheets so that I can set down my goals as to who the characters are and determine what events will make them grow.  

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 11:31 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

I love this idea of character sheets, still haven't done one yet.


Great point, Amy, about listing events that will make them grow.

Charles J. Barone
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 5:07 PM
Joined: 7/18/2014
Posts: 120

I never worked from an outline until I did Danielsford, using Scrivener. Then, I filled out the various cards on the corkboard, using each card as a chapter. Some ran barely a page in length, others managed five or six. And it worked, at least as far as making the initial draft much faster to write. It also served to keep me focused on the storyline. Whether the finished product is any good remains to be seen. I haven't looked at it in a few months due to real world intrusions.