Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tips on writing book outlines?

For the last couple of weeks I have been feeling extremely creative, and have pretty much created a world and named characters and already feel in love with a book idea. However, I have had this feeling before, but before I can put pen to paper, metaphorically speaking as I am a computer lover, I get an overwhelming sensation of "being over my head". 
I don't know the first steps to go about writing a novel! Sure I have done my fair share of dabbling in poetry and writing short stories and tons and tons of essay and such, but I feel like this is in a totally different ball park.

Do I write an outline? 
How do I write an outline?
Or do I just blindly write?

Do you guys have any advice?! I literally walked to my bookstore and looked up books on "how to write a book" I am that clueless haha!


  1. oh sweet Sarah, I think these questions dominate all of our lives! Some major authors outline, and others just write randomly. I usually do outlines, but then again I'm really analytical and have to know where my story is going to go (and a lot of times, how it's going to end) before I really get into it. An outline can also help keep you focused and on-task, so that new ideas don't completely side-track you

    But I truly believe that there is no right method - it all varies by person! Good luck :D

  2. Just like what Amelia said, I don't think there's a "right" method -- it does vary by person!

    Try both, to see how you are as a writer. I usually outline first -- character webs, little plans here and there, how I'd ultimately want this to happen.. etc, etc. I do find though, that as I write the story, the characters and the situations just "write themselves." They take their own direction, and sometimes even I'm unprepared for the sudden detour. I find that this works in the end though.
    Another tip I would suggest is to literally just keep writing and writing. Who cares if they're mere rambles for now? That is the key word there; for now. Edit later. Forget about perfection for now. This might be difficult, if you're a perfectionist, like I kind of am.. but I find that this is truly the easiest way for every word to come out. No censorship in a way. No limits. Edit later :) Good luck! And remember, you are sooo not alone with this situation. Just think of all the authors in the world who had faced the same situation you are in ;)

  3. You guys are the BEST!!!! Thank you soooo much Amelia and Jillian!! I'm going to start writing up and outline and just plain start writing tomorrow hopefully, thanks a bunch!! :)

  4. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  5. I think it just depends and like Amelia and Jillian said, everyone is different. :)

    For me, I'm a planner by nature so I naturally like to outline. The most intensive planning I do revolves around my characters. I also have recently started plotting before I write anything because I've found that plot is one of my weaknesses. Some writers however like to know the beginning, middle, and end before they start writing and nothing more.

    But it seems to me like you're in "the zone" right now meaning that you have this idea you're super excited about and that you're itching to write. I say, go ahead and give it a shot! First drafts are always fixable anyways. Plus, the more you write, the more you'll learn about what works for you and so on.

    Good luck Sarah! :D


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