Tuesday, January 3, 2012

To Outline, or Not to Outline?

I have always been a hyper-organized person. At times, I have been accused of being OCD. I cannot function in a messy space, and clutter drives me bonkers. I like things perpendicular, alphabetized, and filed in chronological order.

So it's really ironic that I've never in my life outlined a manuscript.

Last May I went to the LDStoryMakers conference, and was totally sold on the benefits of outlining. I have started and never finished many a novel in the past because 100 pages in I realized I have some insurmountable plot problem that I could've avoided if I just outlined the darn novel.

I have a novel that I'm currently working on. I've been working on the darn thing off and on since about the 8th grade (so that's, what, 8 or 9 years now?). I have various drafts of the novel, all focusing on very different ideas and ending at around page 100. But this time, things are going to be different.

For the past month or two I have been outlining the novel. I have been working on character sketches and subplots and setting. I am determined that this time around, things are going to be different. And I will not start penning The Hostage Heart until I am sure just exactly what point A is, what point B is, and how I'm going to get from A to B.

Maybe I will try out outlining and find I completely hate it. Maybe it will stifle my creative energy and make me loathe working on the manuscript. But maybe, just maybe, I will absolutely love it, and finally be able to finish this manuscript after 9 years of trying.

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