In preparations for NaNoWriMo this year I knew I had to do something different. What I’d done previously hadn’t worked, and I’ve tried many things from pantsing to plotting (using all different kinds of methods from Save the Cat, the Marshall Plan, Mapping your Novel, Planning your Novel, and the list goes on), but I never got in the outlining zone. I got enthusiastic, and I got motivated, but I never hit that point where it felt like I wasn’t “WORKING,” where it was fun, like writing is for me. To me, writing, the actual writing is fun, the planning wasn’t. Not until now.
I figured out that I’m what is referred to as a loose outliner, which means I don’t outline every single scene, but I do outline the beginning, middle, and end, some of the main parts (which would be defined as those seven beats that are so important to your novel, or the moments like the inciting incident, the B-Story, All is Lost, and Showdown, or the moments that some refer to as conflict moments). I usually wrote something short and sweet for each chapter like: MC meets ___ & finds ___, or MC loses ___, Bad Guy shows up and MC freaks/confronts/plans, or Betrayal by the last person MC expects, or ___ helps/saves ___ and turns out not to be a bad guy afterall…. in the index card on the corkboard for each chapter so that I knew that those scenes needed to follow that path. However, I didn’t specify anything for each scene, or when I did it usually ended up changing.
However, now that I am outlining with the Hero’s Journey, and Tarot, using an eCourse from Arwen Lynch, I am literally having a blast, my outlining is going so well, and I’m being bombarded with real ideas, good ideas, and those ideas are detailed. My Muse is so happy she’s doing the Happy Dance. 😀 You don’t know how happy this makes me. I’ve found my outlining GROOVE.