Now that you have the stuff to write a novel time to get to business. The next step is planning a story if you are an outliner. They can help you out if you get stuck. On the other hand it can help you with knowing where you are going with your story. I’m at the outline phase with some of my novels, and I do have some chapters written. The outline will help with character story, and plotting events that you want to happen. You can use it to get from point A to point B.
It can also hinder you especially when your story takes a different turn and it’s not the outline. It can happen especially when the story is strong enough to the point where it takes over your head. I know I’ve used some notes, and some of them happen when I write the actual draft. You can also use a bullet list to outline your story of events that happen, events you want to happen, and even beyond that book. I use notes more then a rigid outline since it works for me more then a straight up document. I also have them in several different notebooks since I write on the go which is not recommended. It’s not easy to keep track of them either. I do recommend keeping them all in one place. You can even keep separate notebooks for different aspects of your story if you want to plan the story world. You can have a separate one for characters, events in a certain book, world events, and the possibilities are endless. You can have certain aspects of your story on separate documents too. There are various character sheets to help you write down the basic stats for your character. I’ve filled out these before and it helped me come up with their story, and the events that will happen next. It’s a toss up since I love to outline and write a general page of what will happen in the story, and on the other it can change too depending on the story. It also depends on the novel since short stories and novellas really don’t need an outline. The longer novels do. There are even various books out there that have worksheets you can fill out to help you outline your novel. Writer’s Digest has a ton of information on using worksheets to outline your novel, and even Amazon has a ton of books that will help with it as well. It can also reduce the amount of time you spend writing and it will give you a clear idea of where you are headed next. As a way of outlining your story you can summarize it instead of using bullet points to hit the major events in you novel. You can use a map to outline by going chapter versus chapter. Free writing is also another way to help. Also once you outline and get on a roll it will be easy to outline the entire novel from start to finish. It can be hard though so you might want to break it down into chapters to make it easier on you.
All in all, whether you want to outline or not, it can help you with not getting stuck during the novel writing process. My last advice is do what makes you comfortable and above all have fun! This is just a rough draft, and not the final copy.
Until next time,