M.A. Wohl

Writer on a Quest

I never outlined any of the novels (YA, Middle-Grade or else) I wrote over the course of the past 20 years. I do not like outlining a story. For many reasons. The main one being, for me, it takes away the fun of writing.

With this new project, let’s call it YA-WIP, I thought I would give this good old outline a novel thing a try. A real one. Dreading, dreading, dreading.

But, since I am determined to query this book in by the end of March 2020, I need to step up my game and use all the tricks and tips out there. Because it usually takes me, what 6 months minimum, only to get through the very first, rough draft.

I loosely based my outline for YA-WIP on 3 outlining methods I really find inspiring (I did attempt outlining before, but…) and built my « own » from there.

Will outlining help me write faster this precious first draft?

Let’s outline and see…

Oh dear, common tropes city…

The first outline took me less than an hour to write. I did tough a lot the past months about the story, so I had a very good idea of where the story was going.

And I realized how much my story was sitting on common tropes. It a good story, I still like it. Although, it certainly needs way more work.

So, here’s my method for outlining a novel: write several outlines over the course of several hours, days.

I worked two days (let’s be clear, on and off; I still have a day job and basic needs to take care of, like showering and eating and stuff) on my outline.

End results

First outlines were a frustrating mess, mainly because I felt like I had to suff in some scenes just to meet the outlines requirements. It made the story feel like very old, rolling on common tropes and common characters. In one word, the first outline’s were hitting all the right points and I thought it was boring as s***.
Then, I simplified my outline more and more, to the point were I had the main points every story structure needs without being overly… commercial beat sheet.
So, yeah, I have a good-enough-for-now outline. Yay!

I really struggled with outlining this project though. Oh là là! Part of the discovery writer in me still thinks the outline will end up in the trash anyway.
But, it’s done and now, it’s time to start writing.

Oh yeah! Very excited about that part.

Until next time!


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