Friday, February 22, 2013

To Outline Brief or Detailed?

Walking with a friend in the redwood forest today ( I am so lucky to live here!), I was describing the difference between writing the first Young Adult Novel and now working on the second.  For 'Red Nectar', I did nothing more than a brief outline and kept most of the plot in my head or worked it out as the story progressed.  This time, I wrote a detailed outline of each chapter that took two days to complete.

The first book felt pressed and hurried and fun and exciting.  Discovering at every turn what was going to happen, what mischief the characters were going to get into, who was going to turn up in the story and what they would find when they got there.  It felt like a roller coaster with someone else at the control panels. There is certainly an added element of excitement in any situation in which someone else is in control of the outcome.

But this time, having a guide what to expect, I have more of a freedom in that I can forget about the plot and just concentrate on writing.   I don't have one hundred things going on in my brain, reminders of 'be sure to add that'.  There isn't the need to look back and see if I've already included some vital tidbit of information.  If I need to know about something, I know which chapter to search.  I feel more relaxed and efficient now.

And, of course, I can change the outline any time I want. It is my story.

Heather Leigh

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