Outlining Outlines


I have a very real feeling this blog is going to turn from a focus on writing to a focus on outlining over the next few months.  Especially after crafting my last post about Writers’ Block #5 and using outlines to counter it I can’t help but think about the three novels churning in my brain.  The longer they stay up there, the more essential it feels to get them into some solid form, to get them outlined.

But do you want to know my dirty secret?

I’ve never done a full novel outline before.

I’ve done partial outlines, section outlines, but never felt moved to outline a novel from opening to closing scene, touching on everything in between.  So I’m also going to be doing a lot of learning about the process, reading up on it, studying it, finding the tools and the methods that work best for me.  In terms of tools, Scrivener for Windows looks like the clear early winner in terms of software, especially with the full release finally coming out on Halloween.  I’ve been doing some poking around with it the last two weeks, going through a process akin to reverse outlining as I pick apart the manuscript that was Capsule to turn it into two new outlines.  Outline one will still be called Capsule and will include all my near-futurism and the murder plotline.  Outline two now has a working title of Post Apocalypse and will include all the Lovecraftian dream elements, kidnapping, and frustrated doom cultists.

Outline three will be the joint project I’m working on with my wife, a steampunk adventure novel we’re calling Nickajack, a name that I’m seriously intending to keep.

Being that I’m new to this whole outlining thing, I’m not sure how long to expect it to take.  I’m hoping to get a rough outline of each of the three done by the end of the calendar year, so that I know which needs the most focus.  Post Apocalypse is the most time sensitive of the stories, so might get priority for that.

I’d love to know anything you have.  Articles.  Books.  Recommendations.  Suggestions.  Tools.  Methods.  I’m going to do my own research, but I’m stepping into a world that scares me, ground I’ve never really walked on before, and any and all guidance that can come from my blog readers is one step closer to making these novels actually work, and not just wither and die in my grey matter.  Help me tell these stories!

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