I must admit that I was not very good at writing outlines for my novels prior to reading this book. I always had a basic idea of how I wanted the story to go, i.e., I had a beginning and a good idea of the ending, but I was CLUELESS when it came to the middle of the book. The middle is what has stopped me from continuing my fiction as of late. I’d get stuck on characters, or worse, the plot was going nowhere and than I get frustrated and wind up abandoning the entire project. My block had been getting so bad that I honestly thought I wasn’t cut out for full-length fiction. I thought I would have to continue with shorts and poetry if I ever wanted to write something other than non-fiction.
This past NaNo, everything changed, though. I came across a book called, Book in a Month and it describes in detail exactly what you will need in an outline for each section of your book. The book’s layout is great if you’d like to write your outline in it, but I’ve always been a book snob and I refuse to write in books. Call it my inherited OCD, but I just can’t deface one– believe me– I’ve tried. I did, however, make up Word documents for the outline and print out one for each book that I’m doing. The best part is that I can see the end of my latest project in sight. I only have about 2 weeks of work (if I write about 3,000 words a day) left and I now know how I’m going to end the novel! I started this novel back in 2008, so finishing it will be a GREAT victory!
I highly recommend Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D. if you struggle with outlines, can’t seem to figure out why you have writer’s block, or you just plain need to figure out how to re-focus on your writing.