Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Wonderful Thing About Outlining (And Tiggers)

First: my first "rereading childhood books" post on The Giver goes up on Friday. If you are also planning to put up a "rereading childhood books" post, please either put the link in my post's comments, or email it to me at, so I can add your link to the original post. (And so I can read about your rereading experience.)

some of my thoughts about voice are up on the GotYA blog today, if you want to check it out.

Third: the
Road Trip Wednesday topic at YAHighway is awesome this week. I tried to participate, but in the process I discovered that I can't do it without
seriously spoiling DIVERGENT for everyone (which should tell you just how good this topic is.)

In other news, I'm hard at work on DIVERGENT's sequel, which I will hereby refer to as D2. It has an actual title, but I'd rather not use it until it's final, on the off chance that it changes.

And I have discovered the wonderful thing about outlining. (Not to be confused with the wonderful thing about Tiggers, which is that Tiggers are wonderful things.)

I don't know if you know this about me already, so I'll tell you: I don't like to outline. And when I say I don't like it, I mean that the thought of doing it fills me with terror. Not frustration. Not annoyance. TERROR. Why? Because up until recently, I thought of outlining as the enemy of my creative process. Once I decide that the plot of a book is going to go a certain way, I have serious trouble getting that idea out of my mind. I have to practically dig it out of my brain with a scalpel in order to think of any other options.

But if you want a trilogy, or even a sequel, you have to learn to outline. Because your publisher isn't going to say, "oh, you don't have an outline for the next two books? Well, that's all right. We trust you to make them good, debut author who we have no prior experience with." That would be extremely foolish of them. So: I'm sorry, fellow pantsers, but we are all out of luck.

I outlined D2, and freaked out for awhile, and then got scared, and now I've finally found my inner writing badass again, and I'm writing. (That post I did last week actually worked, people! How cool is that?)

The wonderful thing about outlining is this: I can write anything. At any time. No more forcing myself to write the next scene in the narrative sequence even though I really don't feel like it. (Yes, I know that some of you were never prisoners to chronological order. Shush.) Yesterday I wrote a scene from the middle of the book. The day before that I wrote a scene from the end, and then wrote a scene from the beginning.

Yes, that's right: now I just wake up and think, what kind of scene do I feel like writing today? And then I consult my outline and find a scene that corresponds to my mood.

It's freaking awesome.

So this week's motto is: embrace the outline. The outline is your friend.

And this week's D2 song is...

Also, look!

My very own copy of The Contract! Signed!
This, my friends, is a look of "OMG."


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