Writing Wednesday: The Dreaded Outline

Hello, Fellow Readers! Erica here. Today is Writing Wednesday, and I have a special post for you from my friend and fellow blogger, Alex. Alex and I took classes together at the University of Central Florida none-of-your-business years ago and bonded over our shared love of the cheesiest, yet still completely awesome  movies and TV shows. However, it was our mutual love of all things books and reading that cemented our friendship. Alex runs at Catfairybooks, a website where “a quirky cat lady” reads and reviews “mostly young adult lit” and catalogs her obsession with teen soaps. If this sounds like your jam, give her site a follow. Alex will be a regular contributor to By Her Shelf, and I for one am so excited to have her as one of the talented trio of girl boss bloggers behind this site. 

Today, Alex is sharing about her experience going from a pantser to a plotter. 

My last post was about the writing challenge Camp NaNoWriMo and since I joined the challenge extremely late, I have a whole load of writing ahead of me! Last weekend I went on a short excursion on a couples trip and now my word challenge is going to be more challenging than ever before! Currently, I have about 3431 words and I still need about 6561 words left if I am going to meet my 10,000-word goal…



Currently what is holding me back from meeting my daily writing challenge is outlining. Back in my early 20’s, I was more of a pantser than a planner when it comes to writing. Since I am now adultish I have changed to outlining because I am someone that could frequently overlook the details in my writing. Outlining is a surefire method to get my facts straight and properly plan what is coming up next in my story.

I was introduced to the prospect of outlining in a fiction workshop that I took a few summers ago and I found out that there were so many different types of outlining. At the time, I found the prospect of outlining extremely overwhelming because of all the options available to me. The options that were introduced to me were INSANE! There was the snowflake method, index card method, and there are technological outline tools like Scrivener which you have to pay for. (This poor teacher needs to save her pennies for the summer!) In the beginning, I began to outline in a very simple manner by just writing in the setting, characters, and problem/solution.

When I read the writing memoir The Thorn Necklace by my favorite author in the entire universe Francesca Lia Block, outlining became a less daunting task. I wrote a review of The Thorn Necklace here. FLB is my ultimate hero when it comes to writing and her level of writing success is what I want to achieve for my life. I may be just a bit biased about my love of FLB and how highly I place her opinions about the writing process but I feel that her outlining encompasses everything that you want to include in a novel. The book is based on 12 questions to help you figure out your goals and it adds depth/dimension to the story. The questions focus on character, setting, style, protagonists, antagonists, and the theme. There are so many writing exercises to chose from and amazing examples from classic novels! This writing memoir has been an outlining savior for me!

Since I am not planning any future vacations for the month of July, I know that if I focus and pull a few all-nighters that I could meet and conquer this goal!

Now I want to know what is your writing process?! Are you a pantser or a planner?! Let me know in the comments below! (If you’re a pantser I am very jelly of you!)

Erica again. I’m going to check back with Alex today and see if she made her July goal. Did you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this past month? What were your results? Are you a pantser, plotter, or plotser?

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