Day 127 – Chalk Outlines

Outlining is painful… I feel like I want to run away as fast as possible, but somehow I’m chained to a bench or something, forced to sit still. You ever feel like that, you want to be somewhere else — anywhere else — so badly? That’s how I feel with outlining.

But it must be done.

I tried to find a short cut, see if any other writer out there had an Excel spreadsheet with a nice little outline already laid out. Actually, I found several, but none that fit my detailed needs.

So, I’m going through the mind-numbing process of building it myself.

I think it’s going to be a work in progress. My main goal is to put together an outline that I can (a) plan the plot of the story, scene by scene, (b) track things like theme and character development, (c) make sure I have proper plot points at the proper place, and (d) be able to chart things like theme and plot so I can visually see what they look like, perhaps by using colour.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to outline the first section of the book (of four sections) and simply start writing the second draft. Once I get to the second section, I’ll be able to review and tweak the outline structure, then continue the outline for the following sections (or continue to do it section by section — I’ll worry about that later).

The thing is, I already have a basic storyline through the first three sections thanks to my first draft. This outline is simply a way to craft the story now so that, as I mentioned, the plot points fall where they should. It will also help me unfold thematic ideas in a logical way, and keep a handle on exactly when and where in the story things happen.

I finished the basic outline structure today, so I’ll start filling in the scenes and chapters for section 1 tomorrow.

Unless someone can spare a hacksaw.

~Graham

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