February 9th, 2009

To outline or not to outline...

I can't be too upset with my family for poking holes in my science fiction mystery last week...I've spent the last week brainstorming, plotting and outlining and the story I've got now is far better than it's ever been! It's also a very DIFFERENT story than the one I wrote three years ago. But different is good. What's really cool is this is the story I read to a sixth grade classroom while I was writing it (which was an interesting exercise in and of itself)...and even though it's evolved into a very different story from the one I started out writing, I can still salvage all the basic elements the kids liked in that first draft. (I lost a lot of those elements in the version I was writing a week ago...)

I still have a few details to work out, but I'm writing up a pretty detailed outline. This is strange for me...I've never been an outliner. In high school, when I had to turn in an outline for a research paper, I always wrote the research paper first, THEN the outline.

But I learned to follow an outline when I wrote for the Sweet Valley Twins series...and I learned to write an outline when I started writing Boxcar Children books...and when I wanted to start selling books on a proposal.

And now I'm finding that it's helping to outline this science fiction mystery.

Maybe I'm an outliner after all? I can certainly write a book faster (and with much more confidence) if I'm writing from a solid outline.

By the end of February I will have solid outlines for books two and three in my new series and I will also have an outline of my science fiction mystery. If I'm working from outlines, I'm hoping I can be working on both projects this spring.