How's coronavirus treating you?
I posted on Instagram today that I discovered an idea I had written down a couple of years ago and was buried in documents on my computer. When I pulled it up and started reading it, and remembering the idea, I realized it was very fitting for the current events we are living through right now.
Coping with something scary.
Learning new ways to connect.
It's amazing what pops into our lives at certain times. I was working on other books, one that was published and another that will be this summer 2020, so I left this one alone. I wrote as much as I could of the idea, and shelved it. Back in 2017 or 2018.
Upon reading it today and sitting down to outline it, because yes, I'm going to write this book, it's calling to me, I thought it might be fun to start sharing my writing process with you, now that I have two books under my belt, I'm hardly qualified as a professional, but what else do any of us have to do??
Nothing. We all have nothing to do.
That's not true.
I'm currently home schooling my kids. That's a whole lot of something I wasn't prepared for. We do what we can.
But here, share this moment with me and let's start writing a story together!
I've actually never written fiction, minus when I was a kid and in school. I have two memoirs (that's a lot for someone in their early 30's) so this is as new to me as it might be to you.
I wanted to share my outline process!
When I first decided to turn my journal entries into a book, this process seemed incredibly intimidating to me. I researched EVERYTHING I could think of. Googled all the keywords, and tried to find templates and examples of what other's were doing to get me started.
The thing is... it's crazy simple, and that's why I want to share it. I sat down to outline this new one today, and creating the outline took me less then a minute. Less then 60 seconds. Filling it in is a different story, that might take me a few days, or weeks, and I'll get to that. This will be a series of blog posts as I start this new project.
First, the idea, and the outline!
You'll start two documents. 2.
Document 1 - Your idea!
This could be a single sentence or 10 pages long. Anything in between. That's how this idea started. Now, I'm quite rambly, and I ended up writing a good 7 pages worth of idea. That last three pages are complete trash, but within it I recognized where the ending should be, and decided that if anything were to come after that (the last three trash pages) it would be in a second book. A potential sequel!
Document 2 - The outline!
Let me just quickly provide you an example of what mine looks like. And so far I have used this method for the last two books I've written, and the handful of ideas I've had over the years.
TITLE (to be changed or added later)
Summary: this section is a breakdown of...
Main Character: Write down a name here, and/or basic characteristics.
Setting: Where is this taking place? You don't need to build a whole world. My new book takes place within a house. That's my setting. The house. What will it look like? Add as much or as little detail as necessary.
Chapter outline: This is where I break it all down by chapters so I start using numbered bullet points...
I usually add 30 numbers, to be filled in as the story is written. I don't add things chronologically. I might add something to number's 1, 2, and 3, and then skip to 13 or 14, and then skip again... filling it in as I go, or as I come up with scenes and piece it all together.
And that's it!
That's an outline!
You did it!!
I just showed this to my daughter, who, at 13 yrs of age is also a writer, and her insight here is that sure, we can start an outline, and it might look a certain way when we start, but quite often it changes and shifts by the time to story get's going and often looks entirely different by the end.
That's what an outline is for. To put down ideas. This isn't something you're going to share with the world, probably ever, it's all for you. So you can put down anything that seems fitting. Even if the idea later evolves or get's deleted entirely.
I hope you enjoyed this.
I'll write another post soon as your story starts taking life.
I'm pretty excited about this new project. It's exactly what I needed right now. :)