A Bit About Outlines

2016 #ROW80 Round 1: Check-In 6 | 10 Minute Novelist: Update 3

I had tried many outlines and read several reference books about how to plot, outline, and write over the last couple of years. Personally, my problem is not about coming up with ideas, or writers block. My main problem with writing is getting start it. Yes, procrastination is queen of my castle, as I had mentioned many times. I just deal with her until I can finally start writing. I can have all my ideas, characters, etc. but finding the initiative to write those first words is a struggle.

Even when having deadlines, I always wait until the last minutes. And this is not something new. I had been like this since I was in school. Over the years, I had learned not to fight it. I do other things, which in the end would be important to the end result. This, bring me to outlines. Every writer has its own way to write. For me, I need to have an idea of what’s going to happen in the story. Not the whole picture, but some main events I want to include.

The first thing I do when starting a story is to look for writing inspiration. I love to see my story unfold because I am a visual person. That’s when Pinterest had helped me a lot. I created boards with ideas for multiple stories, and when is time to write, I just have to go back and take a look. After that, I get the names for my MCs and the story title. I can’t write without those.

Then, I picked the word count and divided by four. Getting the main four parts of the story. Sometimes, I divide each particular part by chapter, but it’s not necessary. In a piece of paper (I’m old school, what can I say), I write the numbers: 0, 10, 25, 35, 50, 56, 75, 90, 100. Each number pinpoints a specific event in the story, and it’s part of the four main parts.

  • 0, 10, 25 are the opening scene, the first important event, and the reason we move forward to the next set of events.
  • 35, 50, 65 are the middle point, surrounded by two transitional events.
  • And, 75, 90, 100 are simply the main event, and the conclusion.

When I’m done, I have a simple guide to complete my story. I have no idea how, when, what, etc. is going to happen, just a rough idea of what I want to accomplish. The problem still, when to sit down and start writing. It can be days before I start, but when it’s time, at least, I now where I’m going.

What about you? Do you start writing right away, or drag yourself until you don’t have any other option but to start?

Me? I’m still dragging my feet. So a post for penance, instead of new words.


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  1. I still struggle with how much outlining I need. I like to pants it and then I find myself in the middle unsure where to go.

    Good luck with the new words. I know that flutter of nervousness to start on those.

  2. This is my early year goal – outlining. Like jnfr, I’m a pantser – then I get lost and end up spending too much time trying to remember where I was going. This is really helpful, thank you Lila.

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