Outlines and I have never been friends. Sure, they seem so nice and pristine with their bulleted points and simple sentences, but once I actually get into forming one, well, it doesn’t look pretty. I’ve always been the ’10 page essay when the requirement is 7-10 pages’ or ‘
948 (*cough* 799) words when the limit is 800′ type of girl, so you might begin to see why outlines and I don’t get along well.
But it gets worse than that, friends. My bullet points aren’t just the longest sentences they could possibly be. They end out coming out more like this:
I. Beginning of the story
1. Prevalent story point.
2. Another story point–though oh hey, what if this was actually this and what’s going to happen with that scene? So that would have to get all changed and by the way, that one character needs more development. Hmm. Maybe I should work on that.
*Five rambling pages later*
“…What was I doing, anyway? *Scrolls up through the sea of rambling* …Oh. An outline. Right.”
So, as you can see, outlines never work well for me. And I’ve never really found that they’ve improved the actual writing of my story, either, because it changes so much it nearly seems pointless to have an outline.
However, today I discovered an outline (of sorts) that actually was helpful. In my current novel, Dragons’ Bane, I have three main POVs I’ve been alternating between: Lena, Blaze, and Kaiden. However, Lena and Blaze’s basically alternate back and forth, while Kaiden’s is a separate(ish) storyline that runs parallel to the two. The result? I’ve forgotten to add in Kaiden’s scenes a few times, and trying to figure out where exactly to place them isn’t easy.
So, I took my story document and made an outline of sorts, adding a header with the POV character’s name at the beginning of each scene and hyperlinking them all so I can pull it up next to my document and see the order of things.
The other bonus of this is I can easily jump to whatever specific scene I want to work on, and as long as I keep the header when I move the scene, I can rearrange them however I’d like, so there’s an even distribution of scenes that makes sense with the storyline.
And that’s the story of how an outline and I finally managed to get along.
What about you? Do you like outlines, or do they not work well for you? Have you ever made an outline like mine to keep track of your characters’ POVS? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your opinion!