Monday, April 18, 2016

O is for Outline

To outline, or not to outline? That is the question. Many authors swear by them, while others prefer writing by the seat of their pants.

If you ask authors who outline what kind of outline they use, you'll get as many answers as there are authors. Some prefer the formal outline they learned in school, with Roman numerals and subsections. Others write one or two sentences on a 3x5 card for each scene in the book, while still others write the outline in a brief, "Cliffs Notes" prose format.

I'm an outliner. Can you see my hand raised? I like to write 1-2 paragraphs for each scene, telling the highlights of what happen in that scene. If a beautiful bit of description or compelling dialogue comes to me, I put it down there so I don't lose it. If I come to something I need to research, I put a note there for later. And most importantly, if the plot isn't going right or I come up with a better version, I simply make the appropriate change in the outline. That way it's still useful for writing...and also can be valuable when writing a blurb.

Today I'm going to see what the Tarot thinks about outlining. Today's deck is the Druid Craft Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck.


 Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

The card I drew today is the Princess of Swords. This card speaks of a person who aloof and detached, which is sometimes useful but other times not. This person -- me? -- is good with communication skills, enjoys intellectual challenges, and loves to learn. A fresh viewpoint is just what the person this card represents needs. Maybe I should take a look at my outlining method and see if I can tweak it to make it suit me better! How about you?

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