Today is my last day of work before I get to sit down for five days and work on my epic fantasy. I wanted to use this post as a way to share some neat outlining tricks I’ve recently started trying out. Some of these have made me write constantly for eight to ten hours each day because I have a goal and a determination to meet them. I hope these will help you guys and just remember there is no true way to write a story. I’m just sharing what I’ve found is easier for me.
1. The Timeline
My timeline has all the chapters and events in them. Right now, I have twenty chapters outlined on the novel, but I have added in back story chapters for a few characters. This has helped me to know and love my characters. Also, don’t be afraid to change your timeline; sometimes spending those first four to five hours outlining you may miss a few key chapters that help the readers understand the journey.
As you all know, characters are what drive your story. You have protagonists, antagonists, comedic reliefs, etc. All of these characters have a story, so tell it! Put your main characters as your priority, but some sub characters can create a reason for your main characters to continue their quest. I use a black board to draw out my main family trees, while my wall serves as family trees/ characters that are not as important but remain needed in their own way. Keep these close to you cause characters change and you will need this to follow who they are later on.
Draw a simple map of your world. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I use this to keep track of the journey. It seems unnecessary but believe me maps really do give you the upper hand when you’re trying to plan an epic battle that is taking place in an ocean. Yes, it has occurred to me that names get lost in writing and we create lands over water by accident. Thank you, Sara C. Roethle for reminding of this in your post.
4. Possibly feuds/ Challenges
Right now only one sheet of paper. I’m writing my feuds as I go because some can span across a whole novel. There are eventually more challenges but just note them as you go. Start with the linear feuds then work your way into smaller ones that occur later on.
5. Schedule/ Goals
Here is my last suggestion, schedule your writing over the weeks and keep tabs on your work. Like any business, keeping track with time is essential to knowing what progress you’ve made. Yes, writers hate schedules but the reason I make one is because a schedule leads to a goal. Finishing the project!! How great would it feel if you stuck to your writing schedule like you would any full time job. Then finished your novel hopefully in weeks and had it published after editing. It would be amazing, right? As you can see, I’ve blocked my days with atleast two chapters written or 10,000 words. Which ever comes first. Plus, I have my tracker that says what I’ve written for the day and how long it took me to write that much. This has helped me figure out what times I’m more productive whether it be early in the morning, midday, or over night. Keep track of when you write the most and try to write at those times.
There is no true way to write a novel, but if you feel you are spending countless hours reeling back trying to remember if Carl had brown or blond hair, an outline will eliminate that wasted time. I hope this helps with all of your future works. I will eventually post up how I have developed this world I’m working on in the next post.