|An outline is like a winter tree without the complexities of leaves, flowers and nesting birds.|
Image care of Annimaas' Bucket
|The circle marks where I am on the Pantser-Plotter Continuum|
Of course the first step in my process, thinking of a story, I posted on this blog quite a while back. Once I have a story firmly in mind, I sit down with the laptop and begin my outline. When I first started writing novels I wrote a pretty simple plan, ten dot points on a scrap of paper that I usually wound up losing. Now, my outlining process is a little more complicated after reading a few books on the subject including Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland, and Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. I'd recommend both if you're interested in learning more about ways to outline your novel.
So, here's my exact process for outlining:
Step One – A messy brainstorm. I get a blank piece of paper and write words all over it. It ends up looking like I just vomited all the words from my daydreaming onto a page. It ain't pretty. I'll draw some links between words, but I don't like to restrict myself with this part of the process. It doesn't have to be neat and tidy, it just has to get as many of my thoughts about the story down where I can see them on the one page.
|Brainstorming – it don't have to look pretty|
|Some chapter outlines for my current WIP|
I usually spend about a week on outlining. It's one of my favourite parts of the process as it's like writing a short version of your story quickly, and you get to find out what happens. I think it's similar to pantsing, in a way, as things surprise you.
So tell me, where do you sit on the pantser-plotter spectrum?