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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | In Which I Attempt Outlining – Again

In Which I Attempt Outlining – Again


snowflake-imageIf you read Monday’s post about my struggle with my WIP, you might not be surprised to hear I’ve been looking at strategies for outlining. However, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’re probably shaking your head, saying, “Again? Dianne, you know that never works out for you.”

I’ve tried all kinds of planning techniques in the past: bullet points, character interviews, three-act structures, detailed scene notes. Once, I even outlined a story backward – from the ending I planned to the beginning I wanted — by asking myself, “What would have caused this?”

(I did write that manuscript, but the only parts that resembled the outline were the beginning and the end! Everything else changed!)

I’m not outlining BRANEWORLD. I’m still trudging through a dark forest on that one, with only a dimly conceived destination in mind. But I want to have something waiting in the wings if, no when I finish the draft. So I’ve decided to do preliminary work on a completely different project, a historical mystery along the lines of The Caged Graves, except set in 1930s Hollywood.

This time I’m trying The Snowflake Method, which you can check out HERE.

It keeps me busy and out of trouble while I wait for my editor’s revision letter on The Eighth Day #3. And it keeps my mind off everyone going Back-to-School – which, for the first time since I was 5 years old, does not include me. <Sigh.> I’m a little conflicted about my feelings on that.

However, I can celebrate the arrival of fall with a Back-to-School giveaway! Come back on Friday to learn more about THIS:



13 Responses to In Which I Attempt Outlining – Again

  1. The snowflake method would confuse me. Then again, I tend to plot backwards from the ending to the beginning.
    You will finish Braneworld! Just keep working on it.

  2. Ooh! I love me a giveaway! You know, I’ve tried several plotting approaches too, but the one that works for me is a layer system where I basically sketch a thin plot (beginning, ending, 5 to 7 turning points) and then start building each one in my mind–while in the shower, while exercising, while driving places… I don’t do so well with the “on paper” thing, but if I can visualize the scenes, they become real and writing them is cake.

  3. I got through a paragraph or two on the snowflake method and my eyes crosses. It was too much for me at the time. Maybe I’ll try it again. I’d love to be able to outline one day too. Best of luck to you.

  4. J E Oneil says:

    The snowflake method looks interesting. Not for me since I like to go off on tangents in my writing, but interesting. Good luck. I hope you find a way to outline that works for you.

  5. The snowflake method sounds interesting – I read the article, and I do plot somewhat like that, just less structured. I hope it works for you; I can’t write a decent book without knowing everything that’s going to happen first. Okay, almost everything. There’s still plenty of room for characters to yank things off the rails. O_o But still, best of luck. ^_^

  6. Good luck with it. I’m a confirmed pantser – all my planning happens in my head, and the rest of it falls into place. Except… oh, I made that sound so easy, didn’t I? There’s a fair bit of writers block involved, but usually it’s at the beginning when I’m still deciding what I want to write and if it’s a story that needs to be told.

  7. Joshua David Bellin says:

    I’ve given up on outlining. Doesn’t work, wastes time, makes me feel bad about myself. I’ve admitted to myself I’m a die-hard pantser, and that’s just the way it is!

  8. I’m afraid all of the plotting techniques don’t work for me. I tried a few a long time ago and wound up going mad.

    A stash of books is always great to have!

  9. ChemistKen says:

    Everyone has to find their own way. I’ve discovered that I’m both an outliner and a pantser. I start out with an outline, but once I begin writing, I either find flaws in my outline or I come up with something even better, so I go back and redo the outline. It’s an iterative process for me.

  10. I’m late to this post, but I wanted to chime in because I now use this method (I didn’t for my debut, thus I revised a bazillion times). I even bought the software to take me step by step. I’ve used it so far to outline my WIP (which I am not drafting) and I am almost done with another outline on a historical mystery. I think it saves me a lot of time in drafting. I hope it works for you too.

  11. Robin says:

    I remember you writing about how you color code the various aspects of your plot in a chapter breakdown. I have been (strongly) thinking about finding your old blog detailing the nitty gritty of that and doing it on my current WiP.

    Hang in there… you will get there!!!!