Saturday, 6 March 2010

How I Outline

Since I’m starting a new novel from scratch today, I decided it would be a good idea to write a post about how I outline.

First Things First

Usually I’ll get an idea from a picture, a piece of music, a conversation, a newspaper article, or even a dream. I’ll keep all these different ideas stored in a notebook and start piecing things together. For example, with Mirror Room I’m using a subplot that I came up with for a different novel I never started, and I’m using a character that popped into my head months ago but never wrote about.


I’ll open a word document, put on some music, and let any idea flow from my fingers -- even if it makes no sense. For example, this is what a part of my plan looks like at the moment:

Pilot study of the trials -- Population becoming too great so a new coming of age. Ruled by an organisation.


A tattoo which binds them all together.

A uniform

Eyes start bleeding

Have medical kits

Have to get into a hole to stop self from being burned alive -- radioactive. Pulls the girl out by the leg and takes.

Yes, that does all make sense to me.


I’ll actually start creating a plot and characters. At this point I’ll come up with names and give them backgrounds.


Then I’ll start thinking about chapters. I’ll outline each one, but I know I’ll probably stray from it a bit, so I give myself enough leeway to do that.

And finally, after all that, I'll begin writing. I'm a real plot whore. I can't just write without knowing where the story is going.

Until next time,


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