Sunday, March 27, 2016

Outlining, My Way.......

Here I am again. It's been a good week, and I hope those of you who celebrated Easter had a good, safe Holiday. For everyone else, I hope you had a good weekend.


I have been for years a guy who writes stories on the fly. I haven't been a plotter, at least not until the Outcast Ops novels that had to be outlined so both Rick and myself knew where the story was going.

I have tried a few ways in the past to outline novels,but when it comes down to it, the way I think is working for me best is what I call "Chapter Summery" Method.

That means sitting down and start with Chapter 1. I summarize what happens in that chapter. Depending on how much thought I put into it, the summery may be a single sentence, a paragraph, or several paragraphs. But now I know what happens in Chapter 1. I move onto Chapter 2 and repeat and continuing, summarizing what happens in that chapter. If I suddenly have an idea for a subplot, it's just a matter of going back to earlier chapters and adding the foreshadowing or the subplot threads. Once I'm through the whole  story, I go back and look at each chapter. I expand the summery, adding plot points, characters, and changing things to improve the story's flow.

I'm not bothering with a lot of detail at this point. I'll generally describe the action (A shoots B and C, C goes out the window), but don't go into detail about what B and C are wearing or what they look like. Locations are the same way -- I give it a name, and don't bother describing it beyond that unless there's a reason to. Also, I use a mix of character names and placeholder names when writing these summaries. Once I have chosen a name that fits the character better than the placeholder name, I use the WP's Search and Replace function. But that usually happens after the first outline draft.

In addition, each outline file has notes at the bottom --- bit and pieces of background, things I need to research, questions I need to find the answers to, ect. Things that don't fit directly into the story, but are part of the story. For Darkness of Shadows, I already have about a page worth of notes about this planet, it's technology, and the society on it. The other two have a half-page of notes. If I have a thought or question white outlining --- it goes under notes.

So, that's how I'm doing it --- summarizing chapters and using them to build the story. It's bringing free writing and putting into a usable structure. It may not work for you, but it works for me.....


And the writing update:

The Assassin Prince --- Outline (through Chapter 26)
The Darkness of Shadows --- Outline (through Chapter 11)
Operation: Broken Chains --- Outline (through Chapter 16)

When I say "Through Chapter X," That means completed chapters. Each of the novels has partially outlined chapters which are not included in the totals above. Any feedback will be welcomed.


Both Outcast Ops novels I co-authored are on Amazon and are both part of the Kindle Direct program. African Firestorm is here: Outcast Ops: African Firestorm on Amazon! For those in the United Kingdom, Outcast Ops: African Firestorm on Amazon UK!! Red Ice is here: Outcast Ops: Red Ice on Amazon!. and for those in the UK, Outcast Ops: Red Ice on Amazon UK! For anyone else, please check your country's Amazon Website (if there is one) Both novels have been on the upswing on the sale charts this week, so they are still being read. Please read and please leave a review!


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