I put in a picture of keys today because I firmly believe that the true KEY to writing a killer rough draft is to have a great outline.
Drumroll, please. You now know all your numbers:
*genre length: page count
*number of chapters
*chapter # for Plot Points 1 & 2, Mirror Moment, Climax and Denouement AKA Resolution
Today you will whip out your outline and plug things in.
My outline has:
*a column to indicate which POV character runs each scene
*a column for the calendar date/time
*a place for a scene summary
*sections for the POV character's goal & motive. If you don't have a clear goal for the scene/chapter going in, it's not going to show up on its own. So these columns help you stay focused on the reason for the scene. It can't just be in the book to take up space.
*a column for a disaster- something I learned from the book Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel by Cathy Yardley. not an affiliate link. (Long story there with the chick lit thing. Don't ask.) Some disasters are big. Some are small. Here's my thinking. I love to read "potato chip" books. These are books where the chapters are so yummy that I can't stop at the end. Something happens at the end of each chapter that makes me say, "Okay, just one more chapter." Then – at the end of THAT chapter – there's another mini-cliffhanger, and I have to read on. Until I discover it's 2:00 am and there are only 20 pages left in the book, so why not finish? So that's the kind of book I want to write. One where you just have to know what happens next. You may not need that. Feel free to put something else in that column. And I only took the chapters to # 60. But I included a blank page that you can use if needed for your outline.
Me? Confession time. I think the middle of a book is the hardest to write. Especially the hardest to plan. I've usually got the beginning and end in sight when I start. Shh. Don't tell anyone, but I have been known to leave a chapter or two blank on my outline. Then, as things develop, I get an idea for those chapters as I flesh out a conflict or something. And Choosing Justice started out as only 51 chapters. But Ike and Justice decided it needed 2 more. What could I do?
You? Pull out your Writing Math and Arc templates and your calendar and start plugging things in. Your Outline Template is here.
Your turn. Go.
How many chapters do you think you'll need? Have you ever written a novel without an outline?
The series info is here if you're looking for more posts on this subject.
Sometimes I wish God would give me a GPS or a map or a neon sign. I'd even take a pillar of cloud or fire. Okay, maybe not a pillar of fire. That would kinda freak me out. But it certainly would get my attention.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm on the right track.
I just need to reread Isaiah 48:17, and then I double check: who am I following?by