Organize the Outline – Out with Old, In with New

My latest work-in-progress has had my mind paralyzed, stumped, and slushing along at a turtle’s pace  trying to complete it. I believe I’ve discovered my problem (I refuse to use the words “writer’s block”).

When I created the outline for this particular novel, I typed it in great detail – as in approximately 25 pages – front and back! My other published books did not have anywhere near that lengthy of outlines when I wrote them. Also, I had revised the storyline at an early point while writing the book. Some of those revisions were massive and I needed to rearrange events I’d already mapped out or to add entirely new points/chapters to the book and even forced deletions of specific scenes in other places. Those changes should create tons of additional suspense and thrilling action for the reader’s pleasure.

But when I made all those changes, I did so using a pen on the printed pages of the outline. I never went back into the computer to make the changes on the outline there and to print out a brand-spanking new outline for my reference and constant use as I write the novel. I thought, “I can read all the hand-written changes just fine on the original print-out. Why waste time typing up all these changes I just spent a ton of time writing down? That’s doing the work twice – No need to…” HA!!! Wrong! And I consider myself an organized person, too!

So, that means I’ve been attempting to work with the equivalent of a jigsaw puzzle, otherwise known as my outline…having to literally hunt down and piece together the next portion or chapter or even notes scribbled on notebook paper (shoved into the rest of the pages) of the outline among pages scattered on my desk in a zigzag fashion. For example: I moved Chapter 17 — it became Chapter 6. Or perhaps a paragraph from another chapter moved to somewhere else in the book. Or huge sections were crossed out. Or arrows drawn on the paper indicating to move those sentences “up here” or “down there”!! Eeeek!

And that brings us to what I believe is the reason (or at least it’s high on the excuse list) of why I’ve struggled writing this current book. I CANNOT READ (or easily follow through) MY OUTLINE anymore!!  It’s confusing and a big wadded mess! (The new cat was a major distraction, too!!)

I’m excited to announce that last night I started updating the outline (in my computer) in an efficient manner and greatly condensing it, too. Once I find “what happens” next in the novel on the old, printed outline that I’ve written changes on, I am now making those changes on the computer version for a new, easy-to-read, soon-to-be printed outline. I like to physically have an outline in my hands – not just saved on the computer. I should have it done this afternoon and back in the swing with writing the story. Yay!

I am working on Chapter 7 in this book…the title has changed several times…but it is a paranormal thriller, urban fantasy, young-adult trilogy written in the style of my Werewolf Series. This one highlights the Bigfoot species and has a spunky girl and her brother in it and they run into some serious trouble of the supernatural type…of course!

That’s all for now!

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