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

    • 88,347 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Evil Parents and Rotten Kids
      A-ZE is for Evil Parents and Rotten KidsI present you Jimmy Kimmel's annual "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy" video montage. It's an artful mixture of cruelty, humor, and ghastly awe. My favorite is Drawer Boy. Now there's an ax murderer in the making.Which is your favorite?
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • A Warm Welcome to Roger Bruner!
      Is there a story behind your book The Devil and Pastor Gus?Absolutely! About thirty years ago—maybe forty—I wrote a little play called “B.L.Z.” When I say “little,” I mean little. Just a few pages. In this play, the Devil is disgusted with the fact that his son, Junior, always messes up his evil assignments by doing good instead and sends him to earth on one […]
    • The Devil and Pastor Gus
      Back Cover Blurb:Fifty. Half a century old. Closer to the grave than cradle. And what does Pastor Gus Gospello have to show for his fifty years on earth? Not much. Shepherd of a small church. Married without kids. Faithful keeper of God's commands. Well, most of them, anyway. Gus longs to make a difference for God to have an eternal legacy. Now, as he c […]
    • Cut It Out by Terri Gillespie
      Back CoverThe Hair Mavens are back! Women are flocking to the newly remodeled Hair Mavens Salon. But the salon isn’t the only thing that has changed—two more mavens arrive and create chaos for the ladies; and if that weren’t enough Katya is about to bring on something new that will change all their lives. KATYA: The former mousey Kathy has transformed into t […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • The December Clash Victory Goes To...
      KINSALE KISSESCongratulations, Elizabeth Maddrey! Kinsale Kisses received enough votes to claim the win! This clash received more votes than any other clash in COTT history. So we offer a big thank-you and a standing ovation to each of our contestants: Rachel A James with The Forgotten Princess of Elmetia, Heather Gray with Queen, Julie Arduini with Entruste […]
    • December Clash
      It's the most wonderful time of the year!This is our last clash of 2014, but the year isn't over yet! The Christmas season is in full swing and that means books, books, and more books! Whether you're looking for something to curl up with in front of the fire, or something to gift to your best friend, we've got you covered. Come "peek […]
    • Patricia Bradley in the Spotlight
      Former Clash Contestant Patricia Bradley is in the spotlight today! A popular romantic suspense author from Mississippi, her latest book "A Promise to Protect" released this fall and garnered high praise from readers. It's the second book in her Logan Point series, with the third releasing next summer.A Promise to Protect:In a steamy small tow […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • Chloe's Decision 
      As I stated last week, November is NANOWRIMO. I'm working on the next Stones Creek novel. It's the story of Chloe, Noah Preston's sister. She comes to Stones Creek with her two children. If you would like to read her pre-story simply subscribe to Sophie's Special Emails. No more than twice a month will you receive an email with special co […]
    • Remembering Fudgsicles
      It is November and thus NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to begin a novel and write 50,000 words during the month. Since this occupies most of my focus for these four weeks I will be reposting previous articles each week this month. Fudgsicles, how long has it been since I’ve had a fudgsicle? I’m not sure, but they came to mind when […]
    • Are You Teachable?
      What? You think you know everything? I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but no one knows everything. Oh, there is one, Hashem. He's omniscient. But no one else is. Even Yeshua (Jesus) isn't. He doesn't know the hour or day he will come again. Some people rejoice in learning something new. I tend to be one of those people. I read about […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • Book Review: Once in a While by Linda Ellen
      Once In a While The Cherished Memories Series book 1Linda EllenPaperback: 482 pagesNovember 2, 2014ISBN-13: 978-0990904403Ebook 2.99Paperback 14.99Fiction, Memoir, Historical RomanceFrom the Author:Victor Matthews is a down on his luck young man, frustrated with his life and his inability to find gainful employment. Louise Hoskins is a young woman content in […]
    • Book Review: Colors of Feelings LaToya Watson Children's Picture book
      Colors of FeelingsLaToya WatsonChildren’s picture bookPublish AmericaISBN 9781630844202$5.99 ebook; paperback and hardcover editions availablec. January 2014Buy on AmazonColors of Feelings is a great book about children who experience different feelings for each color of the rainbow.My review: Darling large format picture book with a four-stanza poem on the […]
    • CrossReads Book Blast: In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning by Dana Goodman
      In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the MourningBy Dana GoodmanAbout the Book: Author and Counsellor, Dana Goodman, shares her painful journey through heart breaking tragedy. After losing her 12-year-old son and 30-year-old husband to cancer, she must put back together the broken pieces of her life and her faith. Drawing hope from Christ, she describes how even the w […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • Book Review: Alzheimer's Prevention: Protect Your Brain for Life by Dr. Melody Jemison
      A very thorough book written by Dr. Melody Jemison. Jemison lists multiple things you can do to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's.  The author references a variety of studies. It's never too early to start putting these measures into place. In fact, the earlier the better, as taking the recommended supplements or establishing suggested regimen […]
    • Book Review: The Heart of a Gypsy by Roberta Kagan
      During Nazi Germay Christian Stearn, a freedom-fighter is rescued by a band of gypsies involved in the resistance after being captured by  the Nazis. Christian immediately falls in love with Nadya the beautify gypsy girl who helps orchestrate his rescue. Christian then joins forces and works with the gypsies.The author uses the story to help educate readers […]
    • Book Review: Hearts Awakening (Hearts Along the River) by Delia Parr
      Ellie Kilmer is a spinster with no money and a plain countenance.  Her only hope for supporting herself is to serve as a housekeeper on Dillon Island for widower Jackson,  a widower with young boys.  Jackson makes a marriage proposal to Ellie, but it will be in name only and he’s mainly after a cook and caregiver. The more Ellie gets to know Jackson the more […]
  • 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: