Why I’m Outlining my Next Novel

20160418_095515My first novel, Bloodstone (working title), which is currently in its 2nd draft (more like 7 or 8, if you count the early attempts) started with a raw outline. But I was a teen when I started it. I didn’t know how stories work or how to create realistic characters, so the outline broke down very quickly. I spent most of high school and college reworking the story in my spare time, teaching myself to recognize crap and scrape it out.

While my writing group reads Bloodstone’s 2nd draft, I’m starting a new novel. The whole ‘discover it as you go’ process was fun last time, but Bloodstone took 10 years to write. Now that I know what I’m doing, it’s time to try a different approach. For this WIP, I want a full first draft in 1 year, maybe even 1 month (I’m looking at you, NaNoWriMo!).

Since I know how to create rounded characters and dynamic plot lines, I can plan ahead. And since this novel has a Korean protagonist, which I am super excited about, I need to research a ton. My goal is to gather enough material so I can blast through NaNo and write a bulletproof draft 1. With a baby to take care of, I don’t have time to churn out draft after draft, so I’d rather use my experience to create a better product in the first go. (Dare I say product? Many cringe at that word, but if you plan to publish, get used to business/marketing speak)

For the new WIP, I have an elevator pitch (seems backwards, but Save the Cat supports my impulse to get to the heart of the story ASAP), a few rough character profiles, an outline of act I, and many miscellaneous plot points. I plan on sifting through information until I can wrap my mind around the entire plot and until I have all the ‘why’s addressed, so I don’t stumble on plot holes mid-draft. There are a lot of ways to outline a novel and in my preliminary research I found a few helpful articles:

Are you an outliner? Why or why not?




Starting Fresh


The weekend is coming, which means more Appa-Eigi walks in the park!

Friday afternoon, with a mocha, Disney music, and a sleeping baby. I rest. I work. With my MS 2nd draft handed out to my writing group, I’m detoxing, scrubbing it out of my skin and, well, planning a new novel.

It has been years (and years) since I started a new novel, but my characters are already rounding out and demanding that I fall in love with them. First I brainstormed on any/every scrap of paper. Characters, images, dialogue, themes, etc. Good or bad, I wrote it down. Then I organized notes into character profiles and plot points. This stage will take me a while, because (unlike last time) I want to make sure that I’m ready to start. The key differences between this start and my last start are age and experience. I was in high school when I started Bloodstone (working title), and I didn’t know how to write a novel or even a fully functional scene. I made lots of mistakes and researched endlessly. Thankfully, I’m stubborn enough to learn and improve.

So here I am, with two novels in progress, and it’s immensely refreshing. I can’t wait until I can share them with you.