[OctoOctober] Week Four: Outlining Oct 25, 2020 10:24:26 GMT -5
Post by Keri on Oct 25, 2020 10:24:26 GMT -5
October 25th, 2020
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Welcome to OctoOctober 2020, a Preptober Workshop. This year, please feel free to download the prep book which has some more fun, some more questions, and more pictures of our lovely mascot, Otto the Octopus.
As a reminder, we’re going to be focusing different “arm” every week. The order to this is semi-arbitrary; there’s a rhyme and reason to it, but everyone’s rhyme is different.
So today, we’re going to focus on outlining and writing vs. procrastinating (and how to balance the two). These can be done at the same time or interchangeably, because one feeds into the other!
So for this post:
An outline is a very personal thing. No one's outlines look exactly alike, even following the same basic outline structure. Some people like to get very detailed; others like just single sentences or fragments of thought.
Now, we've spoken briefly about our own outlining technique earlier in planning, the Amazing OctoOctober Outline of Awesome (AOOA), which I know most people used during the planning parties in Discord. But let's dive a little deeper into how to make that work best for you over the next month.
Creating Points That Work
No matter what your outlining technique is, the best way to approach making an outline is figuring out how much detail you need to keep yourself on track (and what your version of "on track" is). Some people prefer to have just a little bit of detail and allow their creativity to lead the way. Others might need full step-by-step analysis of what would work.
For example, I might write for the step in the Hero's Journey known as "Crossing the Threshold":
Minimal: Character X needs to leave Place Y.
Detailed: Because of the sudden arrival of poison gas in the atmosphere, Character X needs to leave to go to Place Y. She decides to take along Characters A, B, and C because A can determine the best path, B is better at foraging, and C has boy scout skills. They go through the gate... etc.
There's no wrong way to make a point on an outline. It really all depends on how your own creativity works.
Writing to the Outline: By Chapter
Many outlines separate things into chapters. Some people prefer to write with chapter introductions and breaks in mind. If that's the type of writer you are, it might help to outline your novel by chapter (and scenes within chapter, if you like to get detailed!) first.
An example of an outlining method using a scene/chapter/Act structure is the Katytastic 3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Scene outline.
Writing to the Outline: By Day
The reasons that the AOOA is 30 points is because November is 30 days. It makes it for an easy division: every day should cross of one point on the AOOA. That way you go into each day knowing what you want to get done.
This might mean that each point on your outline isn't just one scene. There may be three or four scenes you want to get done in each day of NaNoWriMo - or maybe you vary it based on your work schedule or days you know you can have more time (or less time) to write.
Alternatively, you might find yourself having one scene/chapter lasting multiple points. That's all right too. As someone with looong scenes and chapters, that's where I usually end up.
Writing to the Outline: By Feel
The last sort of outline I'll talk about is the idea of outlining by "feel," aka however you feel like. Some people like to ramble out a long stream-of-consciousness thoughts and feelings on their novel. Some people separate things into ideas. Some just pick out the parts that they feel work the best. Some outline day by day, figuring out the next steps as they write their morning pages or reflect on their day's writing.
I fall into this camp myself, always changing up what I do day by day depending on how the story goes. Give me a pen, some paper, and off I go!
How do you outline? What sort of points would work best for your creativity? Should you separate by day? Chapter? Scene? Feel?