Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Paint By Number Approach to Writing

Some writers dislike outlines; others swear by them. If you don't have tons of time for writing (which is probably most of us), and you're frustrated at slow progress (especially when you DO have time to write, and ideas won't come), here's a trick that's working for me: I take the story and break it into manageable pieces, like this:

1) I title the story.

2) I decide how many chapters it should have and title them, and then open a file for each.

3) I add some notes in each file telling me what information goes in each chapter.

4) I write my first and last sentence for each chapter.

5) I break the chapter into scenes.

6) I summarize each portion.

7) I complete any research.

8) I fill in the blanks.

By the time I get to #8, I'm not faced with the daunting task of visualizing the entire novel, just the small task at hand. After step #4, I do mix things up a bit, but the premise is the same. And now I'm clipping along at a far more satisfying rate. I edit in a similar fashion, which I'll share in another post.

Try it. Maybe it will work for you, too.

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