How Do You Outline

It’s something I get asked often, and I mean often. How do I outline. Well, here’s my dirty little secret. I don’t. Not in any traditional sense anyway. Let me explain though…

First I write in Scrivener for Windows. I’m not saying that’s what you need to write with, but it’s what works for me and my style of writing.

I usually start writing with a couple of good characters, some background story in my head (and sometimes written in a notebook somewhere) a starting point and and ending point.  So I create my Scrivener file and in the novel section create two “cards” I use each card as a scene in the book. I title each card with something that tells me what happens in the scene “X meets Y” “Car Crash” “Robbery” for example and start writing. As I work things start to pop into my head “A needs to happen before we can get to L point” so I’ll create a card and title it and continue with what I’m doing. I’ll often also leave several blank “New Note” cards at the bottom of the project so all I have to do is title the card and drop it where it belongs in the story.

Later I may decide that I need something in between scenes, and this is where I totally love Scrivener, I can drop a new card in there or take an already written scene from some where else and move it to a new spot in the book, as simple as drag and drop.

Sometimes I’ll be somewhere else, doing something entirely different (picking kids up at school, waiting at sports practice) and I’ll think up several things that need to happen in the book, I’ll make notes, and when I come back add in the cards for those scenes, with enough info that I’ll remember what I need to do when I get to it.

Am I saying this is how you should do it? No. I’m saying this is what works for me, what works for you?


Round and Round I go.

Where I end, nobody knows.

Actually, I don’t really feel like I’m going in circles, just that I have a ton of stuff to do. Since sending the manuscript of LIVE off to my editor I’ve done some reading (actually, beta read two books for two different friends, as well as some pleasure reading,) made an appearance at my hometown county fair (had a total blast!) dealt with a lot of family issues and drama (2 teenager, 1 near teenager and a boy thing) plus that never ending circle of shopping and feeding them all.

Now, on October 1st, I realize that NaNoWriMo is only a month away. I need to start thinking about what I’ll work on for November. (Aside from the fact that I’ll have Live back by then I’ll have some changes I need to make and I need to do formatting too.) So this morning I opened up a new Scrivener project  (if you’ve never tried Scrivener, I highly recommend it) and started with a little bit of an outline (I spent my girls softball practice last night bouncing ideas off a friend, I had to copy those out of our chat and save them too.) The outline will grow over the next few weeks and come November 1 I’ll start writing. Not sure if I’ll manage to win this year but I’ll do my best.