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The One Thing I Learned From Nano this year.

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Whenever I get advice on how to write a novel, it seems that it’s always the infamous outline. I’ve tried it. BELIEVE me. But I can never get a clear picture of how to get from point A to B even if I do an outline. So, seeing as I’ve never been told to write the novel in order of my outline, I began writing the most random scenes that popped into my head and fitting them into my outline instead. It all had to do with the general plot and followed the recipe, but it was sooooooooooo much easier for me.

I also, if you didn’t notice, tend to write my novels and stories in scenes rather than chapters. The chapters bit is for the editing. Try it some time.

Tip of the Day: don’t let your outline be a straight-jacket. If you feel like writing a scene you didn’t plan for, just do it.


About otakufool

I just want to let my opinions be heard, and let my writing be viewed.

6 responses »

  1. Outlines aren’t really the problem. It’s the insistence that you create the outline *first*. That’s never worked for me because I rarely know exactly what I’m going to write, especially if it’s fiction. I spend a lot of time thinking about the novel, and making notes. Eventually, the notes will begin to form themes. That’s when I start shuffling them around into something that looks more or less like an outline. But I never do the A. a., B. b., kind of thing. My novels evolve, and the “outline” evolves with them. The outline helps keep the structure in mind so that you don’t go wandering off in all directions, but it’s not meant to be something that you follow regardless of where the story wants to go.

  2. I’m really glad that I’m not the only one who finds writing an outline first really hard as well. I feel as though it stifles my ideas. I see your point about having your outline work for your story, rather than the other way round. I’ve never tried writing notes exactly- little thoughts about the story on occasion but never notes. I’ll definitely try that.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Actually, a lot of people seem to hate outlining or not find it too useful. I’d also mention that besided developing a theme or themes, starting with notes and then shuffling them into a loose outline can also help with the timeline. I have a hard time remembering who did what, and when, so being fairly detailed in my notes really helps.

    • Thanks a lot for the advice! I’ll try that when I rewrite my Nano novel, or at least finish it.

      Do you happen to use a particular writing program? I’ve been using y_writer, and although it’s layout is great for organizing I’m getting a little frustrated with the lack of a decent spelling and grammar check.

  4. I use Scrivener. It’s been available for Macs for years, but if you want to give it a try for PC, there’s a beta out, which is supposed to convert soon. Or maybe it has already. You can try it for free.

    I don’t use any grammar checker because they’re not reliable, but Scrivener does have a spell checker, and continuous word count. Frankly, it’s made all the difference to me as a writer, because I’m a very disorganized person. Until I started using it, I never finished any long project.

  5. Awesome! I saw an ad for that on Nano, I’ll definitely try it when it’s out for PC. Thanks!


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