Outline Time (again)

So, I finished editing THE RESISTERS book #2 for Random House—and I finalized a new book proposal and my agent is sending it out to publishers this week.

… What’s a writer supposed to do now?

Start a new project, of course!

If you read the writing-process posts on my blog, you know I incubate book ideas anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. This particular project falls into the “years” category. I started kicking this idea around in 1994. I fiddled with it now and then… but I just recently figured out the last bit of the narrative puzzle and this story is rising from the grave and ready to be written.

While I could write an entire book on how I write books, my process goes a little like:

1) Collect notes and work the idea from a bad, cliched one–to an okay one–to one worthy of writing.

2) Herd those ideas into a primitive narrative arc.

3) Further refine ideas onto 3 x 5 cards according to Robert McKee’s methodologies. (see his fine book, STORY, on how to do this).

NOTE: If you’re an “organic” non-outlining writer, I have the utmost respect for you, but please stop reading this post now; you’re eyes are about to melt.

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4) Assemble these story “beats” into a chapter structure. This involves spreading out all those 3 x 5 cards on the floor.

NOTE: lock up your cats/dogs/toddlers during this phase—trust me.

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5) Write a rough outline based on these chapters.

6) Write the darn novel.

I just drafted to the end of the outline. I’ll polish that this week, work out a few kinks left…and then I’ll be off and writing fiction once more! Yay!

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