Monday, 23 March 2015

To outline, or not to outline...

Until recently, the closest I had come to writing an outline was a few lines on some sticky notes.

This book is the first I have written in the crime thriller genre.  Whilst jotting down some notes in the idea stages, I quickly realised that if I didn't want to be bogged down with plot holes and extensive rewriting, I needed an outline.  I bought Outlining your Novel by K.M. Weiland, and the workbook that goes along side.
It's a nifty little book and it taught me how to outline my novel in less than a week.  Obviously, most of the ideas were years' in the making, but I also came up with new ideas and twists through the 'what if' questions and 'what is unexpected' questions.  I now have a full notebook crammed with scenes, character profiles, themes, what if's...

The most important thing having an outline did for me though, was it brought up lots of questions.  If I had ploughed straight in with the writing, I would have had to stop quite frequently to answer questions that I didn't know the answer to.  Most of these revolved around police procedure.  Luckily, I know some very kind people who used to work for GMP, so I compiled my list of questions and sent them off in an email.

By having an outline for my book, I have made the writing process much faster, easier and more fun.  I don't think I'll start a book without one again.

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