Skylines and Outlines

by aenoblin

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Have I mentioned lately how much I hate to outline? I’m not a linear thinker. I feel real sympathy for my students when we begin outlining speeches in oral communication. The outline really helps them gather their thoughts. It helps them understand the importance of a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is no different when outlining a novel. 

But it’s just not the way I operate. I’m a note maker. I’m a wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-write-on-my-hand kinda gal. I make character sketches. I need a pen and paper. I can’t brainstorm on my computer. 

I did chapter outlines for my last novel. Well, I did chapter outlines for some of them. Mostly throughout the middle. I didn’t need to do as much preparation last time because I’d been mulling over the concept in my head since 2008. I wrote the book in 2012, but all those years of thinking and talking outloud to myself while driving (am I the only one who does this?) kept the idea fresh, and much of it was fleshed out before I sat down to write. 

And let’s just be honest–I don’t really know what in the hell I’m doing. I’m sure I’ll look back at this blog in a few years and laugh at my stupidity. I have only one novel writing experience to compare this to. Before I began writing Stay, my primary focus had been non-fiction and poetry. I hadn’t attempted a work of fiction in at least five years, and it had been over a decade since my last novel attempt. 

So if you’re reading this, and you’re laughing at me, I don’t blame you.

Here’s what I know: every time I make a note, or read a book about writing/outlining, or even think about writing my next novel I get so excited I can hardly stand it. Writing Stay was absolutely one of the greatest joys of my life. It was so much fun. It’s a high I’ve been getting since I was 8 years old when my grandparents bought me my first journal. I still have that journal, and I can remember the feel of the cool, white pages and I couldn’t wait to dive in. It doesn’t compare to anything else.