Outlining… Just a Rough Process, Needing to Find Your Process, or a Trip Through The Inferno

I hated outlining anything for school. I dreaded an outline. It was always so bare and empty to me. (Yes I am aware that is what an outline is.) In school though they had us cut it down to so little I never felt I knew where it was going. It was horrifying and made me hate the entire process. As i would come to learn what works for some does NOT work for others. I was trying to fit in the process that made me feel like i was in an inferno surrounded in nightmares by bad outlines. (It was a rough time…)

I eventually stopped doing outlines for anything. I became a let’s just write it down and see what happens type of person. Editing was then another issue entirely because of my choice in new process. I thought nothing of the fire like pits I would want to throw myself into because of that.

After years of doing that I finished half of a draft for this WIP that I am currently working on. Needless to say I gutted the entire thing and felt lost with it. I knew the story I wanted to tell I was just lost. I went to my outlining roots and felt that it didn’t work for me. I tried all of these worksheets and I got nothing. I tried writing a paragraph at one point for what I wanted each chapter to look like. Everything was rough to get through. (Like paying off all your credit cards to find bills that run them back up and feel like you’re in an endless cycle rough… [seen that more times than I wish I would have])

Finally after two months of no progress (and some really awkward exercises I found for writing on Pinterest) I ordered “Save the Cat! Writes a Novel” I am not one to be astounded at what I learned about my own writing outline style and how I could use the platform to blend with everything else I had tried. That book helped me revamp and rebuild my story into what it is becoming now. It helped me truly find what worked for me! (Life and school would have gone so much smoother had I found my process sooner, but to each their own.)

It might not be to everyone’s taste but it is worth a look through if you feel stuck and can’t move your story forward. I have marks and tabs all through my copy. Some things struck me as things that should be obvious, but I never would have realized it when I was so busy trying to fix something that wasn’t my strong suit to begin with.

After tearing the original draft apart and giving my new bare boned outline an angry toss across the room I used the book to fill in my missing outline pieces. I did a mixture of everything while following the flow of the book to explain it and break it down for me.

I realized that if I as the author couldn’t understand where my story was going or what I was trying to do I wasn’t going to have the best outcome. So, I started on the angry fire pit path, got lost in expectations, and found what worked for me. I want to make sure to repeat myself in saying the same thing dies NOT work for everyone, but I hope every writer and author alike can find their process.

I wish everyone luck on their journey!


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