Confessions of an Outlining Virgin: Part 1

Here’s the thing.  For years I’ve written by just charging right ahead and letting the words just flow onto the page.  It’s worked well for me, but anyone reading any completed works would probably recognize the unplanned style.  But I keep hitting these points with Capsule where I can’t do that.  It’s what caused me to fail at Nanowrimo with it two years ago, and it’s a large part of what’s holding me back now.

So I’m going to do something I’ve never done before.  I’m going to outline.

Right now I’m in the middle of Act 2 of what is intended to be a three act story, meaning I’m also in the smack dab middle of the whole story.  The last two chapters I’ve written have left me underwhelmed at best.  So I’m going to break this process down into three steps which I’ll likely be outlining over the next three posts:

1)  Where am I?  At which point I will ask myself, well, how did I get here?

2)  Where am I going?  At which point I will potentially write the last scenes of Act 2 and Act 3, and will likely find myself in another part of the world.

3)  How do I get there?  Because it’s not working to just let the days go by like water flowing underground.

These are not equal steps, three is unquestionably the biggest one.  And this will not be a tutorial in the right way to outline, lord knows I’m no expert in that.  It will simply be my own exploration of how I end up outlining.  I do know at this point that my destination in the story is same as it ever was.  Same as it ever was.  I also know that I shouldn’t listen to the Talking Heads while working on a blog post.

About the author

DLThurston DL Thurston is a writer of novels, screenplays, and the occasional short story. He has short stories due out soon in the Steam Works anthology from Hydra Publications and in The Memory Eater. When he's not writing, he also brews beer and even drinks it sometimes. Check out his exploits either on his blog or on Twitter.