Novel outline–week one

Another Friday night blog entry, which means I’m cool.  Last week I wrote out my plan to outline and start my novel. I’m happy to report that I did get a brief outline for the thing. I meant to write a short description of each chapter, but I rambled a little bit. Overall I have a plan for 33 chapters and a page estimate of 300 pages.

On my plan last week I wanted to do this brief chapter outline and then jump into longer outlines for each chapter. However I think I need to stay on this stage of the process a little longer. On my first attempt at the novel I almost wrote out the first part out of a planned three parts. So with this brief outline I was able to structure that first part really well, but after that was difficult for me. I think I had a handful of events but not enough to fell up two thirds of a novel. I still believe that in every chapter something significant should happen to move the story along. Now I think this brief outline should be planned out even more. Instead of a week, I’ll take up to Christmas to really think it out.

Getting the whole novel concept to sink into my head would help greatly instead of simply thinking of certain scenes that I’ve liked for years. It can only help to have a really solid chapter outline. I’m happy with what I did this week. I have a paragraph for each chapter, for a total of 2,400 words.  For the first time I had an idea of how many chapters would be in each part, and the chronological movement of the story. However if I was to start the novel today I would have a strong first part, and then probably would fail my attempt as I progressed into the second part. Good novels get more interesting towards the end of the story. I know I need to make the second part more solid.

My next step will be to simplify each chapter outline to one sentence. This hopefully won’t take long, and I think will give me an idea what the core idea is for each chapter. Also that printed out will be a lot easier to look at than 5 single spaced pages of my current ‘brief chapter outline.’  Then I’ll evaluate what to cut from the story, what to add, or move things around.

One thing I find difficult with this story is the movement of time. Part one takes place over a course of 9 months, part two is like 3 years, and the last part is like 8 years. The events and age of the character makes this the timeframe of the story. But is it okay for one chapter to take place in a day, and then have the next chapter span a month? I think what I have planned is possible but I need to also do a time outline. So in the next few weeks I’m going to obsess over the chapter outlines, and think of ways to space out the time frame of the story. Only when I’m satisfied with the overview of the whole thing will I start the longer outline for each chapter.

Writing is a very individual thing, and this way I’m planning makes sense to me.  I’m not necessarily asking for advice with my novel by writing these blog entries, but I’m trying to analyze what will work for me. I noticed several years ago that writing is a great way to think things out.  Somehow writing organizes your own thoughts. Plus I blog on Friday nights so I have plenty of time to think about outlines, and write outlines. It will give me something to do and will keep me out of trouble.

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