News

22
Jul

Outlining

I’m working on an outline for book2, the sequel to BORN WICKED. It’s tricksy. I didn’t write an outline for Garolass, the book that didn’t sell. I did write one for BW, and I think it helped to have those signposts as I was drafting, although things changed an awful lot as I wrote, and parts of it were pretty spare. I had lunch with The Playwright on Tuesday, and we brainstormed over sushi rolls and Diet Coke. Then I turned things over in my head for another 24 hours and sent the outline to Editor Ari yesterday.

It needs some work. We brainstormed on the phone today for 45 minutes. I think she was worried I’d be upset that it needs some work, but I was ready and willing to hear suggestions. Excited, even. I’ve never written a detailed outline before, never written a sequel before, never written a book under contract before. I didn’t expect to get it right on the first try. And–especially at this stage–collaboration is awesome. The more ideas, the merrier. Who knows what will spark the exact perfect thing? Talking it out has always been helpful to me. I surround myself with brilliant people! I can point to specific points in BW and remember that it was originally Ari’s idea, or her genius assistant Paula’s, or The Playwright’s, or my critique partner Katie’s, that I ran with and made my own. *gobbles your ideas nom* 

Anyway, I have some plot points that we’re both excited about and some new suggestions to build on. Ari suggested that I sort of zoom out and try writing a 2-3 paragraph synopsis. I was talking with some friends at the SCBWI-MD conference last weekend and they mentioned that as part of their prep work for books, they wrote pitch paragraphs, even if they were past the querying stage. I’ve never tried this before so I’m curious to take a crack at it. I’m hoping we’ll hammer something out in the next week and I’ll be able to start drafting by the beginning of August!

I’ve had lots of writer-time over the last two weeks. There was a sangria happy hour, a viewing of HP7.2 followed by margaritas, the SCBWI-MD conference all day Saturday, a mimosa brunch Sunday, dinner and sorbet last night, and an Elevensies-Apocalypsies 2-hour chat online tonight. I am so grateful for writer-friends. For finding a tribe where conversation comes easily, where the talk is about books and writing and I’m never bored or ignored. For finding people who understand.

8 Responses

  1. Tez Miller

    I'd love to gobble someone else's idea. Alas, you'll have to gobble them in my honour…as well as your own honour, of course 😉

  2. This is awesome – I'm glad your conversation went so well! I tend to be a hybrid pantser/plotter, but I also have found that writing a query letter (even if I'm way before or after query stages for a ms) has been greatly helpful in narrowing my focus, and tying to figure out basic story elements that might otherwise escape me.

    1. Yes! I think the problem with my outline was that it was too episodic, and there was no overarching cause & effect plot. Need to work on that! But I got a HUGE email with suggestions from my editor this morning so I have lots of ideas to chew on now.

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