The Bad Book Project #10 | In which I fail at outlining.

Welcome to week 10 of The Bad Book Project! You can check out the last posts in this series here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

So yes, this title quite clearly describes my problem. I have never outlined before and honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve been watching a few videos on this topic and thought about what I should write about and then it came. Nothing. Came. There are probably a whole bunch of people out there that can actually explain to you what you’re supposed to do and what works and what doesn’t, because I don’t know. I’m just winging it and this is what my process looks like right now:

  1. Make notes about everything that seems important and might be useful for the book.
  2. Gather your notes and read through them.
  3. Think of a structure for your story, for example the 3-act structure as explained last week, or The Hero’s Journey or Freytag’s Pyramid (google it).
  4. Write down all important (and less important) plot points, actions, conversations and basically everything that happens on separate note cards or post-its. You can use different colors for different type of points: for me red is family stuff, blue is friendship stuff and so on.
  5. Lay out your cards or post-its and set them in order.
  6. Keep in mind your structure and try to follow this structure when constructing your story.
  7. Fill in the blanks and plot holes.
  8. Divide the post-its/cards into chapters.
  9. Write everything down in a word document or some other program you like.

I am currently at step 1 of the process (*cries*), but I’ve got some cards already and I’m planning on bringing a notebook with me at all times for the coming week. Next weekend I’m going to continue with the cards process and hopefully finish the broad structure. Then I’m giving myself some time to finish it all up and start writing out the full structure. And hopefully I’ll be done before April starts…

I just found this method called Beats and Pre-production which is talked about in this video, and I really love the idea of writing everything out in paragraphs and adding pictures of cast, scene and atmosphere to it. This method seems easy and fun so I’m going to try to do that.

In my journey of finding the best way of outlining, the tip I have heard the most often is that you have to do what works for you. So that’s what I’m going to try.

What is your method of outlining?



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