I just got the a new post from Chuck Wendig’s blog, terribleminds, delivered to my inbox. If you don’t already follow Wendig’s commentary about writing, I highly recommend it as a refreshingly (excruciatingly) honest mind-dump of what it means (to him) to be a writer.
Anyhow, today he has decided to threaten us all with homework for October (ahead of NaNoWriMo, which you probably don’t want to be reminded is only 25 days away from removing you from your social life): Outline your Novel in October.
I know some people cry “Pants or Die!” but I can’t count how many times my novel outline has saved my ass from the desperation of staring at a blank page. Saved me from jumping around my novel to the parts I imagine but can’t string together. I’d much rather have it all laid out (by me, by the way… outlining doesn’t make you NOT creative when it comes time to expand it) than be left grasping for the threads of “what next?”
The effort spent put into mapping this sucker out is worth it. Plus, if you’re not in the habit of writing consistently throughout the year, it primes your brain to think creatively, and makes you spend some time with your plot and/or characters so you aren’t all awkwardly meeting for the first time on November the BLANK PAGE.
I have many more resources I use to outline (not least of which is the in-depth book Outlining Your Novel, Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland, off of which I would have worn the spine, if I didn’t own a digital copy), but Wendig’s post offers many different approaches to outlining that I haven’t even considered as a way to outline, so I definitely recommend reading it. (Wendig Disclaimer: Not to be read while eating, or drinking. You may choke on his humor.)