Some of you might remember this post, in which I said I'd be outlining my next project--instead of just flying by the seat of my pants, like I did with Shattered. (If this is old news to you, feel free to skip the next two paragraphs!)
In case you're one of my newer followers here's a brief synopsis: I didn't outline my first novel, Shattered, and loved it. I've always been anti-outlining, because I just knew it stifled creativity. Even in high school when we had to outline projects, I'd write the project first and then go back and create an outline from what I'd done.
But by the time I finished Shattered, I was really frustrated with myself. I felt like it'd taken a LOT longer than it should have because there'd been weeks at a time when I'd been stumped about where (my characters wanted me) to go next--so I decided I'd try a new method for my next novel. Around that same time I stumbled across First Draft in 30 Days which goes into detail about some pretty cool ways to outline. And that's what I'm (loosely) doing now. Okay, you're caught up.
Well, in case you couldn't tell from the title of this post--whoa was I wrong about outlining cramping my creative style! (So far.) I finished with Day 2* and I'm feeling more inspired than ever. Why? Because:
Day 1 was dedicated to developing my characters. Primary and secondary. And you know what happened? They've turned into these real people that live entire lives in my imagination.
My characters in Shattered did that too, eventually, but it would have been so. much. easier. had I known them this intimately when I first started writing. When I began editing Shattered, I had to go back and flush out most of the characters for the first few chapters--and I had to change a major part of the plot because I realized that the character it involved absolutely wouldn't have gone in the direction I had them going in... I'm now fairly confident that I won't run into the same problems with my new project.
Have I created every single character yet? Doubtful. I'm sure a few secondaries will still pop up along the way, but I can tell you here and now that I'll come back and create them through this process as soon as I become aware of their existence!
Day 2 was allotted for sketching out the settings of my new novel. Another thing I wish I'd done with Shattered. Because now I won't have to pause my writing process to think about what a certain place might look like. I know exactly what my characters' homes (and rooms and front yards, etc) look like. I know what the school looks like. I know what the... well, let me stop there before I give something too major away ;-)
Are there settings that will come up along the way that I didn't plan for yet? Absolutely. But, just like with any new characters, I will take my new settings through the same process I dragged the current ones through.
What are these "processes" I'm writing about? Well, you'll have to check back the next time I post--I promise it will be all about my characterization process! (Otherwise this post would be fairly epic in length...)
I'll leave you with this: Apparently outlining isn't just sitting down and making a roman numeral list with a timeline of things that are going to happen in the novel. (I'm not kidding, that's what I always pictured when people talked about outlining.) There's a LOT more to it, and just with the first two steps, I've already got such a well-rounded view of my new project... I've had ideas that I might never have thought about otherwise. I'm completely inspired, brimming with creativity, and can't wait to start the next section! (Plot sketches)
*I call the days Day 1, and Day 2, and so on, because that's how they're broken down in the book, but I sometimes take my time and use more than one day to complete that particular section.