Friday, April 21, 2017

A Process in Outlining and Actually Finishing My First Draft

Disclaimer: I am a shameless outliner as well as a shameless procrastinator. This often leads to me having an entire story written in outline form, while the first draft takes forever to finish.
    I'm about to chronicle one such misadventure. Please don't poke fun. (Or do. I don't actually mind.)

    So, without further ado, here's the story of The Conquest, and how I have totally NOT finished my first draft.
    It started November before last November. I was awake at about two a.m., lying in bed, when a thought came to me, (this thought isn't even valid to the novel now, but it was at that point,) "Hey, what if you had like five books... all of them from different points of view, beginning and ending at the same point in time and every single one ending in a cliffhanger? And then the LAST book, the sixth book, tied up all the loose ends and brought the final conclusion?"
    The next morning, I drew up a rough plan for a series.
    The Conquest was the first book of that series. I decided to start it the November of the next year, i.e., last November. I got to about 60k words, and pittered out. I lost my inspiration. I cooked all the fun out of writing and took a break.
    But today I got back to it, reopened all of the folders, the secret Pinterest boards, and the character profiles I have printed out and hidden under my bed. (Writing is the only part of my life that is organized, to tell you the truth.)
    So, since I opened the story back up, poked at my muse until inspiration stirred, and explored the story (again), I thought I'd blog about it.

    The Conquest is a historical, YA Romance with time travel in it, so it's kind of a fun story to tell. The main characters, Yule--a spunky, friendly Puritan, and Xander--a brilliant time traveler and inventor, are fun to write and I like them. The plot needs work, yes, but that's going to get more attention in draft number two.

    I did a lot of work in the outline. I have an entire binder full of scene outlines, ideas, and character pictures. It's extensive--superfluous, even. But it is kind of cool, so I'm going to show you.

[The title page of the binder. It was originally in a clear sheet on the front of smaller binder, but the pages got too bulky and I had to put it in a thicker one.]

[First page and the outline for the first scene, complete with inspiration scraps and post-its.]

[Outline for Scene 16, with a random scene excerpt fold-out.]

[Unplanned scene slip, and the scene outline for Scene 34.]

[The end of the scene outlines-- showing the envelope with all of my prompts and the beginning of the character pictures.]

[All of the prompts and the envelope close-up.]

[All of the character pictures. ^-^]

[A character drawing I did myself and a little paper. These, along with a few other random story things, are in a purple folder clipped into the back of the binder.]

You probably didn't care to see all of that, but I'm pretty proud of it and I am excited to be getting back into the story. I'll probably post excerpts and sample chapters of the story itself as I work on it. =)
I hope everyone is having a great month!
Happy writing and happy life,



  1. Your story binder is beautiful! I especially love your title page. :)
    The only one of mine is mostly just a bunch of character profile worksheets that are partially filled out. :P
    The prompts envelope is a great idea, too! I might just have to steal that. ;)

    1. Thank you! =) And you're totally welcome to use it. ^-^