Tag Archive - Outlining

Outline Your Novel for NaNoWriMo

You’re all signed up for National Novel Writing Month. Great. Are you going to get working on an outline? No? You’re going to “pants” your way through. Fine, do that. Have fun. But, seriously: Do you expect to have a terrific novel written by the end of November?

It’s really not likely. And as I said in last week’s post, maybe you don’t care. Maybe you are all about getting to the finish line, unconcerned about the train wreck you create. It can be a lot of fun setting a writing deadline and barreling toward it. And there is surely a sense of accomplishment in that.

But why waste a whole month writing just to say “I did it”? Why not actually outline a novel that is worth writing?

I want to pull some content from a post I wrote last year to help you prepare not just for a one-time NaNo experience but to write many great novels that hold together structurally. Continue Reading…

Outlining Your Novel – Whether You’re a Plotter or a Pantser

Today’s guest post is by Harrison Demchick.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser is a term that has come into vogue in the creative writing world over the last few years. When it comes to the process of writing, a pantser is one who flies by the seat of his pants, barreling his way to a completed draft with little planning and less revision. It’s an approach well-suited to writers who otherwise find themselves so stuck seeking perfection that they never actually finish anything.

I’ve never been one to fly by the seat of my pants. I’m a plotter. I plan. But I’ve also never been one to advocate for only one approach to writing. We’re all different writers with different writer brains. What works for one may not work for another, and as a writer you need to find what works best for you.

But fiction is complicated no matter how you approach it. And whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, I think there’s much to be gained by considering the value and application of a well-constructed outline. Continue Reading…

Keys to Moving Your Plot Forward

I tell writers often they are failing to “advance their plot.” What does that mean, and why does it matter?

I keep seeing novels that “land on my desk” that start off with a great situation but then veer off into the hinterlands. Other novels don’t even get out the gate. The opening scenes seem to have nothing to do with the premise of their story. I’ll go back and reread a synopsis and shake my head. Where is the premise setup? Who exactly is the protagonist?

This is such a problem that I’m going to share some points from a post I wrote two years ago on the topic.

If your scenes aren’t “advancing the plot,” you have a serious problem.

Each scene should reveal some new information, but not just anything—the information needs to help move the plot forward. The bottom line? Every scene must have a point to it or it shouldn’t be in your novel. Continue Reading…

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