WT&TT: Outlining (reblogged)

Rob Hart (via Chuck Wendig’s blog) makes a few good points: outlining is good but remember it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. (The amount of times I’ve had to change my outline around a bit because something’s changed on me…!)

Rob Hart: How To Put The Toilet In The Right Place

by terribleminds

* * *

I went into my first novel without an outline.

I regret this!

It took five years to write the book. Characters appeared, disappeared, and reappeared. Entire threads were repurposed, rethought, trashed, and untrashed.

It was like if you’re building a house, but the blueprints are constantly getting changed, and the builders aren’t communicating, and suddenly there’s a toilet next to the fridge. And you have to figure out how to move it, but once you do, it screws with the plumbing lines…

So you hammer away and hope it comes together in the end.

And it did, mostly. I am immensely proud of New Yorked, but looking back, I see the gutted piping that didn’t get relocated. Publishers Weekly, in their review of New Yorked, said:

“The book’s relentless pacing and strong sense of place (happy face)compensate for the incoherent plot line (sad face), which prevents it from being truly effective (very sad face).”

It sucks to hear, but it’s not an unfair point.

One of the lessons I learned from New Yorked is: I’m the kind of writer who needs an outline. I knew the beginning and I knew the ending, but the middle—that’s where the plans got mixed up and the basement stairs suddenly led to the roof.

So for my second book, City of Rose, I knew I wanted a strong set of blueprints. The question was: How? There’s no one right way to outline. So I took a couple of tries, sketching things out, jotting down ideas.

Then I came across something that really worked for me.

Read more by clicking on the title. 

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