Using a Novel Outline Template

Hello All;

I am back from a bit of an extended hiatus and I want to say it’s good to be back. Much has happened, but that is for another post. So today I want to talk about using a template outline in getting your story, novel, novella started on a path to success and keep you there. The basis of this post come from a tweet I read from www.nownovel.com . I’ve been a fan of outlining, I’ve used spreadsheets to keep track of scenes, characters, etc. I would cut and paste to move scenes around and for character development.

Despite the rigidity that a template implies, it doesn’t have to be that way. An outline can be flexible, fluid just like your story. Outlining are really just a road maps to help you get organized, to help you keep your story from going off the rails. Additionally, it is a visual representation of your story, which is to say it is another way for you to encode story in your mind and to help you keep your story organized and moving forward.

Another advantage to outlining is that it is easily update as you write your drafts. Whether it is a new character, perhaps a plot twist, outlining allows for the ability to quickly create it and place it within your story using the outline. An outline template can act as the initial draft for your story. As you write additional drafts, it can be of help to you to come up with ideas and craft each portion of your story.

Regardless of whether you are a panster or plotter, an outline template could help you get your story started on a good path and help you keep it on the rails, as well as flexible enough to update as you come up with new ideas.

Until next time, happy writing.

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Organize Your Story Writing

Hello Everyone,

Gosh logged into my blog only to realize it had been a year since I lasted posted anything. This gave me pause to reflect on the past year and all the things that had occurred and look forward to many things in this coming year.

I recently read a blog from science fiction author Veronica Sicoe (http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/). As a published author, she too had to find her way when it comes to writing and she shares several ideas of how she goes about creating her stories on her site. There were a couple I found interesting to me personally, that I am going to try, one of them being how she uses Excel spreadsheets to organize her writing (http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/?s=organize+your+writing). She uses spreadsheets to give her a high level view of her writing progress and to also drill down on areas she needs to focus her attention to be productive and to keep the process moving forward. Perhaps the best part in addition to her information, is the free templates to use yourself (http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Writing-Project-Template.xlsx).

I got a real sense that she, like all of use, struggle with the writing process, but she kept at it and found a way that works for her. So give it a go; read her post and see if anything resonates with you; if so try it.

That’s all for now,

SB

Michael Crichton’s Method of Plotting A Story

We are 10 days into the new year. So I thought my first post of the new year should be about beginnings. Story plots is how we begin story development.

Ever wonder how published author’s develop plot’s for their novel’s? I have on numerous occasions. I found this post from the blog: Writers Helping Writers, written by Dorothy Cora Moore. She talks about author Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park, and the television show ER, to name a few, developed plots for his stories. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he would use 3 x 5 index-cards to jot down ideas as they came to him, then later he would put those index cards with his ideas in order which became the bases of his story. He would supplement his income during those days by writing under a pseudonym

This is a great idea. If you’re having difficulty coming up with a tight plot, give this a read and try it. Post your thought and result and let me know how it goes.

Michael Crichton’s Method for Plotting Out a Story

Until next time,

SB

Writing and Still Holding a Regular Full-Time Job

It’s been nearly a full year (February 2014 to be exact) since I obtained my current full-time job. The year has been filled with lots of training and learning new skills. I must admit that I didn’t read as much as I wanted (not for pleasure anyway), but did find brief opportunities; the same can be said for my writing.

So when I came across a tweet from @KMWeiland “How to Write a Book (and Work a Day Job), I was more than intrigued. So I click on the link http://t.co/zcrOryM5Qg (by WriteHack) and read the article. As newbie authors just starting out, most of us have to find time to read and write between our day job hours. Add to that all the things that life throws at us each day, finding time to write is hard.

Anyway, give the article a read and see if it might help 2015 be the year you reach your writing goals.

Until Next Time.

SB

A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Novella’s

How many of you had such a terrific story idea, with great characters. You probably can envision the setting. So you sit down and start to write, and you write and write until there is no more story to tell. When you finish, you look down at the word counter (don’t worry we all do it) and you see you have something in the ballpark of 6,000 words (give or take). It’s not long enough for a full on novel, but too long for a short. What is an author to do? Consider it a novella.

In a post from https://twitter.com/KMWeiland twitter account, author Anne R. Allen (http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-novellas-are-hot-and-how-to-write.html) interview award-winning novella author Paul Alan Fahey how he crafts his novella. The author contends that novella’s are growing in popularity and differently growing segment of the e-publish phenomenon.

Give it a read, see if it doesn’t spark so energy and interest in the writer in you.

Until next time,

SB

The Flaw

It has been two and half months since my last post. When I last left you all, I mentioned that I became unemployed, which led to the post of conflict. I am happy to report that I am employed (that was the longest 4 months) once again, and have been spending a lot of time training and learning the role of my new job.

This experience of looking for, and interviewing for work, led me to this post I’ll call “The Flaw.” You see when you apply for work and then land that interview, you are usually meeting with another person or several people. The interview usually goes something along the lines of asking you questions about yourself, have you done the kind of work before, and how has your prior work experience prepared you for this role.

In many ways this is no different when we develop our characters for our stories. Each character is a product of their experiences as well as their genetic make up. No character is perfect as each of us are not perfect. As a reader, I want to be able to relate or connect to the story characters. As a writer, how much time you spend developing your character, could be the difference in how  deeply your audience reacts to him/her. One of the best ways to have your audience connect with your story characters is to give her/him a flaw. It is a fundamental basis for investing the time reading your story in which we are asking our readers to spend instead of doing something else.

I came across this blog ( http://scriptshadow.net/screenwriting-article-11-character-flaws-to-use-in-your-script-right-now/) about the most common flaws in characters of movies. I know, I know, your saying but this blog is about writing, and you are correct, but nothing says we have to re-create the wheel here.

Any how, give this a read and think about your characters in your story. Do they have a flaw? If you struggle to come up with one, look over the list and see if you can’t add depth to your character. Also, see if your plot also need some revising.

Good luck and until next time,

SB

Fiction Can Mirror Life

Just an update from my last post in October. I am still unemployed. Boo! I have literally submitted dozens of resumes and applications. I have 3 interviews, still nothing.

How can this possible relate to writing you ask? Well, if you look at traditional story (structurehttp://www.musik-therapie.at/PederHill/Structure&Plot.htm), you have the beginning; then rising conflict; to the climax at the apex. Then a descent toward resolution and a return to homeostasis. So my situation, I would say (hope is more like it), I am at the climax. In fact, I would say that I have arrived on a couple of occasions only to be dashed and the rise in conflict again toward climax. Much of the conflict would be the arguments with spouse over having no job, money, dividing up the household chores, expectations. The apex or climax would be the interviews, with the hope of landing a job.

So, fiction can mirror life in many ways. I, for one, have learned that when writing my protagonist, inserting piles and piles of conflict to their point of breaking point, brings about interesting reading. Also, once they have reached the climax, make sure that the decline towards resolution and homeostasis, needs to be a grand, epic and memorable as their ascent. They deserve that much, and it helps make them a memorable character.

Until next time,

SB