I was going through my old posts and found some from two years ago! I can’t believe it’s been that long. I remember how helpful these were for me when I first started writing. After revising a hundred times (okay, I’m exaggerating), they’re a lifesaver.
Tonight I actually had time to sit down and work on my book, but instead of actual writing, I outlined chapter four. I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted it to go, so after writing it out, I finally got it figured out. I’m doing something a bit different than before. When I first started writing, I pretty much outlined the entire book, which was really great. It gave me an idea of what direction I wanted to go in. Along the way, my outline changed a bit here and there. I also outlined by scene rather than chapter.
Now, I’m outlining by chapter. Since I have the original, rough, rough draft written, it’s easier to break it up into chapters. Also, I’m now outlining by chapter as I write rather than planning out the entire book ahead of time. I guess I’m doing it this way since I’ve already outlined the entire book and have the rough draft sitting in front of me. It just seems kind of redundant to do that again.
Since I am changing a lot of things, though, I find that I still need some sort of an outline–something I can go by to get my thoughts in order. So, I basically write out an entire page (by hand) of what I want to see happen, and then I turn that into an actual 15-20 page (or more!) typed chapter in my draft. This method is working out well for me–write a chapter then plan a chapter.
I also made up character sheets. Since I don’t write an entire chapter all in one sitting, I’d find that I would have to go back to check on things–what the character was wearing, what scent of perfume, what color was her hair this time??? Earrings??? Rather than go back through the draft and search for the information, it’s now righ at my fingertips. I have the Character Description Sheet where Iwrite down all the information about my character. That sheet goes on top.
Once I have that filled out, I then have the Add-On sheet that I paperclip behind my Character Description Sheet. I just add info as needed to this sheet. I can put four different descriptions (of the same character) on this sheet. It makes organizing my characters much easier.
Lastly, I borrowed Kim Harrison’s idea of a character grid and made my own. You’ll see that the story line is definitely not mine. I just used that to show you how the grid is used. It’s an Excel grid and is very good for placing characters. You can look right at the grid and know what’s happening in a book without having to search for it. You can tell right away if a character is in the book too much or not enough. And, you can add clues in for future books and know right where the clue is for future reference when needed, again without having to read the entire book to find it.
And finally, here is a copy of a blank grid. Happy writing!