In her book, Outlining Your Novel, K.M. Weiland shares a practical way to plan and outline your novel as part of the writing process. Inevitably, I have to mention the well-known and debated “Plotting vs. Pantsing” topic. It’s discussed all over the writing world, but I’d like to ask you now – Are you a plotter or pantser? (My autocorrect turned that into panther. May as well ask that too – any panthers out there?)
I can’t say what I am. Most likely, I am a weird mix of both. I liked Weiland’s book, but I couldn’t apply it like I may have wanted to. I am not the kind of writer that sits down with notebook and pen or even laptop and 1) comes up with story ideas and 2) writes them down as they come along. My creative hours are either lying in bed at night or while walking – mostly those distances from the train and bus, etc. I have to mull over the idea and keep the thought in my head long before I can write them down. For being a writer, I keep very few notes. You won’t find stacks of notebooks on my desk.
Anyway, enough about me. The book discusses what a writer best needs to know about his or her story before getting into the first draft. Weiland gives helpful insight on the basics for scenes and scene structure; characters and their goals, conflict, and desires; setting; point of view; and more.
There are parts I found more useful than others. I have bookmarks in places where Weiland bullet points questions or a cool checklist. I recommend this book, but even more, I recommend Weiland’s website Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s awesome. Check it out, you’ll see.
Have a nice weekend!
- For those who missed it, last week I recommended Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story.
- Coming soon: Help! For Writers by Roy Peter Clark.