Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

    **MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. For permission on reprints or reusing this material, please contact the individual authors. For sharing the actual post, please use the share buttons.

  • Blog Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 87,226 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Bricks of Savannah
      B is for Bricks of SavannahSavannah is a short 2.5-hour drive from home, but it took us five years to make it there. Five years! Unthinkable. The bricks.Savannah has been around since 1773, making it the oldest city in Georgia. History oozes from its varied buildings and twenty-four squares--most of them constructed with bricks and dusted with centuries of s […]
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • Welcome Back to Sarah Sundin
      Is there a story behind Where Treetops Glisten? Several years ago, Cara Putman asked Tricia Goyer and me if we’d like to write a WWII Christmas novella collection, and we loved the idea. The plan rested for several months, then at Christmastime, a story idea hit me with such force that I knew I had to write it, whether or not anyone else was on board. A Chri […]
    • A Warm Welcome to Terri Gillespie!
      We're happy to have you visit today, Terri, and looking forward to reading your answers to our questions! Is there a story behind your book Making Eye Contact with God?Oh my, yes. This book was the result of encounter I had with a sparrow. I was home alone when I heard a commotion; a sparrow had trapped itself between our storm and regular window. He fr […]
    • Making Eye Contact with God by Terri Gillespie
      Book Blurb:What kind of eyes do you have?Are they downcast and sad, or are they full of God’s passion?This weekly devotional, for women only, enables you to really see God in a new and fresh way.Using real life anecdotes, combined with scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • Announcing the 2014 Laurel Award Winner!
      2014 LAUREL AWARD WINNERAuthor Ruth Reid's novel A MIRACLE OF HOPEis the winner of Clash of the Titles's fourth annual Laurel Award.CONGRATULATIONS, RUTH!Ruth will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Miracle of Hope; a "Heart of the Matter" radio in […]
    • ANNOUNCING THE LAUREL FINALISTS!
      The entries have been read and the scores have been tallied. Our unique panel of judges, comprised strictly of readers, has determined our three finalists. And they are…Ruth Reid's A Miracle of HopeJune Foster's Deliver UsCarole Brown's The Redemption of Caralynne HaymanCongratulations to all three!!(Of special note, this is Ruth's second […]
    • Winner of the August New Releases Clash
      Thanks to all of our participants for their wonderful submissions. Congratulations to Our Winner!   Having his younger sister at camp was a pain, but Taylor Dixon never expected the pain to go so deep. At 15, Taylor dreams of getting his driver’s license and driving racecars when he’s older. Only his younger sister, Marissa, believes in his dreams, but her […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • Too Blessed To Be Stressed
      I’m pretty addicted to computer games. There have been a number, over the years, I have enjoyed. Right now I’m playing Zynga’s Castleville Legends. I’m in an alliance of ladies who play and help each other. It’s a generous,  supporting group with a fair number of believers. We encourage each other and have a lot of fun. The ladies are from all over the US, p […]
    • 12 Reasons to Live in a Small Town
      Living in small towns has special challenges and delights. When I say ‘small’ I mean ‘small’. The town I live near has approximately 250 people. The county seat has 3600 and the county has about 16,000. So this is rural America. You might think this county was in the western states where the population is lower and space is not a problem. No, I live in Illin […]
    • A Slave Of God
      I am a slave of Yaweh. We shy away from the concept, and understandably so, given the history of slavery here is the US.  I am one, however, and proud to declare it. As a believer in Christ, I have been paid for by Yeshua through his death and resurrection.  Thus, he owns me and I am his slave. Paul, Timothy and James, the brother of Christ, all claimed it. […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • World Wide Blog Hop and High Stakes WIP
      I'm pleased to follow Cherie Burbach in a World Wide Blog Hop.Cherie posted here last week: http://workingwritersandbloggers.com/2014/10/17/world-wide-blog-hopWhat am I working on?I'm currently at work on a project that follows my 2010 award-winning novel, Meander Scar. The story takes place in that year, and I wish I had been taking better notes a […]
    • Land of My Dreams by Norma Gail
      Land of My DreamsNorma GailNorma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, is set in Scotland and New Mexico and released in April 2014.About the Book: Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her pa […]
    • Medieval Romance The Forgotten Princess of Elmetia
      Rachel James and her new book The Forgotten Princess of ElmetiaAbout the Book  (Inspirational Medieval Romance)It is 616AD, and one fatal night the ancient Kingdom of Elmetia falls. Saxons kill the Elmetian King, and capture Princess Teagen. Teagen poses as a slave girl and works for the Saxons in the Kingdom of Deira, until she discovers her brother is aliv […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • Free and Discounted Kindle Book Deals
      Don't miss this special promo for free and discounted book deals on Kindle Books and TipsThe Treasure Seeker: The Quest to Find God, Spiritual Intimacy and Value is just .99For more freebies and deals, sign up for their ezine. www.fkbooksandtips.com 
    • BOOK REVIEW: THE BECKONING BY MICHAEL MINOT
      Michael Minot, a lawyer, is a former atheist who now follows Christ. The Beckoning is not only his story regarding how his beliefs changed but an orderly and methodical account of how the methods he applied to find authentication and proof of God’s validity as he conducted research of the scriptures.While still single, Minot was challenged by a Christian fri […]
    • BOOK REVIEW: POST MARKED EVER AFTER BY MARY BALL
      I’ve reviewed a lot of books, especially romances, so original plots such as this one are rare.When Serena Gray’s husband died she learned in a letter of a secret he kept. It divulged he had a child years earlier from a fling during his youth.  When Serena meets up with handsome Adam, a widower, she soon realizes that Adam’s daughter, Niki is her husband’s c […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

  • Tuesdays – Promotion in Motion

  • Wednesdays: Life of a Writer – April & Positivity – Lisa Lickel

  • Thursdays – Luther’s on board

  • Fridays – Revolutionary Faith, Devotions by Elaine

  • Saturdays – Janet Perez Eckles

  • Sunday – Reflections Book Reviews

  • Blog Authors

  • The Barn Door

  • The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

  • John 3:16 Marketing Network widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)>

Choosing the Best Outlining Method for You, by author K.M. Weiland

Posted by April W Gardner on March 14, 2012

Two of author K.M. Weiland’s books made my Top Ten Reads of 2011, so when I saw she’d released “Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success,” I snatched it up without a thought. I haven’t been disappointed. K.M. writes in a clear, engaging voice that doesn’t push for any particular methodology. She simply guides the writer to finding what works for her. And it’s perfect timing since I’m plotting book three of my Creek Country Saga. There’s always room for improvement when it comes to outlining a novel!

Today, K.M. is graciously sharing a portion of Chapter Two. In addition, she’s donating an e-copy of the book. If you’re a writer, trust me, you want to own this book. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this blog post answering the following question. The drawing will close Tuesday, March 20.

Question: Which of the below would you be most apt to try?

Choosing the Best Outlining Method for You

by K.M. Weiland

 How do you decide which outlining method is best for you? Trial and error are your best bet. You’ll never know for certain if you’ll click with a particular method until you give it a try. However, you can make some educated guesses based on what you know about your personality, what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past, and your own gut feelings about any particular method. For example:

  • If you’re short on time for whatever reason (although I caution against rushing a story unless a deadline gives you no choice), you’re obviously going to need to employ a more abbreviated outlining method.
  • If you’re worried over-outlining may impair your creativity later on, you might want to try something as simple as jotting down scene ideas and keeping them in a file for quick reference whenever you’re stuck in your first draft.
  • If you’re a visual learner, you might profit from a more visual representation of your outline. Instead of storing your outline notes in your computer, you might want to employ colored note cards pinned to a bulletin board—or one of the alternate options listed in the following section.
  • Or, if you’re ready to tackle the full-blown challenges and embrace the full-blown benefits of the total-package outlining experience, you just might want to dive headfirst into the extensive sketching and planning method explained throughout the rest of this book.

Keep in mind that your writing process will continually evolve, sometimes without your even realizing it. Different stories will require slightly (or sometimes radically) different tactics. So don’t box yourself into a rigid system. Never be afraid to experiment. Ultimately, finding the right outlining method isn’t so much about choosing as it is about creating. As you read this book, grab hold of anything that strikes your fancy, give it a try, combine it with the methods you’ve already put into practice, and keep searching for tips you can pick up from other authors. If you’re continually striving to learn about the outlining environment that allows you to work most efficiently, you’ll be able to refine your writing in ways that reach far beyond the craft itself.

Different Types of Outlines

Outlines come in many shapes and sizes. Some stories may demand deviations from the standard “list” outline, in which authors compile a linear list of scenes. Linearity is often the best way to make sense of convoluted problems (and the novel is often a very convoluted problem), but sometimes it’s worthwhile to use less common forms of outlining as a way of looking at a problem from a new perspective. Following are several unique types of outlines to keep in mind in addition to the more standard process explained in later chapters.

Mind Map

Mind maps are particularly valuable in looking at problems spatially instead of linearly. By writing the central theme or event at the center of your paper and surrounding it with clusters of related subjects—and those subjects with related subjects of their own—you can create an exhaustive list of possibilities for your story. Don’t censor yourself. Write down any related topic that presents itself, and who knows what you may come up with. This method is particularly useful in breaking through blocks, since it taps both your subconscious and your visual mind.

Pictorial Outline

If you’re a visual learner, you may find it useful to create folders of pictures related to your story. “Cast” your characters, scout likely settings, and collect pertinent props. By associating pictures with particular scenes, you not only give yourself extra details with which to flesh out the scene, you can also help yourself spot plot holes or inconsistencies. I began keeping a folder of story-related pictures while writing Dreamlander, and this practice has rapidly become one of the most useful (not to mention most fun) tools in my repertoire. When stuck on scenes, I will often surf the Internet for related pictures. More often than not, when I find a picture, I find my missing puzzle piece.

Map

Fantasy authors have long been known for their penchant for drawing elaborate maps of their story worlds. Often, these maps are strictly utilitarian, in that they allow us to keep track of the various geographical features of our worlds. However, a little amateur cartography can be an integral part of world-building, even for stories grounded firmly in reality. Because a good setting is necessarily inherent to the structure of the story itself, a map can become a valuable asset in fleshing out your story. Bestselling speculative author and multiple Hugo- and Nebula-Award winner Orson Scott Card explained that drawing maps helped him refine his fantasy Hart’s Hope in its embryonic stages. In a sketch of a walled city, he accidentally drew a gate with no entrance. Instead of erasing it, he seized upon it as an interesting idea and started asking himself questions about why anyone would build such a gate. He explained, “All you have to do is think of a reason why the mistake isn’t a mistake at all, and you might have something fresh and wonderful.”[i]

Fortunately, artistic talent isn’t a requirement for an author’s maps. Straight lines to indicate borders, wavy lines for oceans, and spiky triangles for mountains work just fine. When it’s necessary, for whatever reason, to share my maps with my beta readers, I often recreate my intelligible-only-to-me chicken scratchings in Photoshop for a slightly more comprehensible presentation.

Perfect Review

As authors, we’re never going to be completely objective about our stories. We’re too emotionally involved, too attached to our characters, too excited about our plot twists, too tickled by our snarky dialogue—so much so that we can lose sight of the big picture. Often, when we begin writing a story, our ideas are hazy, and the final shape of the story is only a dim outline in the mist. The story we put on the page will never be a perfect representation of the story in our imagination, so it’s little wonder we aren’t always aware of where our stories fall short. But here’s a little trick to narrow the gap between your idealization of your story and its printed reality: Write yourself the “perfect” review before your story ever hits paper.

If you could have a professional reviewer read your idealized concept of your finished book and totally get it—completely understand everything you’re trying to say with your characters, plot, dialogue, and themes—what would he write about your story? Close your eyes for a moment, emotionally distance yourself from your story, and pretend you’re that reviewer.

Keep the following suggestions in mind, in order to plumb the review for as much depth as possible:

Be specific. Don’t just let the reviewer say he loved the story. Make him tell you why he loved it. What parts are the best? What makes this piece really shine?

Be thorough. Cover every aspect of story you can think of: plot (including arc, pacing, and originality), characters (including personalities, arc, and development), dialogue, themes, and climax.

Be extravagant. Praise your story to the skies. Layer on the adjectives of adulation. After all, you’re writing from the perspective of a reader who understands and loves your story just as much as you do. So have fun!

When you’re finished, you’ll have an explicit goal toward which you can strive in molding your story.


[i] Orson Scott Card, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 1990) p. 29.

April W Gardner is the author of the Creek Country Saga and

the children’s historical adventure series, The Channel Islands Resistance.

About these ads

7 Responses to “Choosing the Best Outlining Method for You, by author K.M. Weiland”

  1. What helpful ideas! I love how K. M. directs other authors to find their own style of outlining. Since I was in elementary school, I have HATED traditional outlines! I still do—but I have adapted my own style that works for me of jotting down the chapter numbers with the general events taking place in that chapter. It helps me keep the flow of the story, as well as reminds me to include the important plot points. Thanks for a great post, April!

    • Finding the unique method that works for each of us is the most important thing we can do for ourselves as authors. We’re all unique, and none of us can follow a cookie-cutter approach with success. Good thing experimentation is so much fun!

  2. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, April!

    • My pleasure! What’s helped me the most from this book is brainstorming “what ifs” and asking myself “what will the reader expect?” then doing the opposite. Great stuff!!

  3. I use a little of this and a little of that when I outline, some photos, some note cards, and a beat sheet of linear scenes. So far it works, but I’m always up for learning more about outlining.

    • Hi Pegg! You’ve won the digital copy of KM Weiland’s book, “Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success.” Congrats and thanks for stopping by to comment!! I’ll be emailing you shortly.

  4. We’re all different, aren’t we. I appreciate your visit today, KM, and all of you who commented. For my work, I try not to think about what famous people my characters resemble, or I’m afraid I might start making them act too much like someone already out there. That’s when I know I need to get a very good, clear, established character first even before I start writing. Thanks for your advice!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,246 other followers

%d bloggers like this: