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How Do Authors Outline Their Novels?

Have you ever heard of the term pantser?

Well if you haven't let me explain. A pantser is writer who doesn't plot or outline their story at all. I've also heard the term discovery writer, which I like to use more. It's the same thing, you just like to discover the story while you write.

I used to love to fly by the seat of my pants when I wrote my novels. It was fantastic and fun. I just sat down and wrote whatever came to mind. Everyday was a new twist as the story took a new turn. It fueled my creative ideas.

But when it came to editing the novel, I was frustrated. I actually had to create a reverse outline and identify my major story milestones. It was awful.

Now if you're author like me and you're an pantser like I was, that's okay. I'm not saying that isn't a good method for you. It's just not a good method for me.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the plotter. They plot everything from top to bottom of their story. I tried this method, but I found it too tedious and frustrating for me. It just took the fun out of discovering the story as I wrote.

If I couldn't be a pantser or a plotter, what could I be? What would work for me to outline my novels?

After months of searching for a hybrid method, I finally found one while studying with Ramy Vance.

Wall art became my method. I use five major mile stones as my outline. Then I fill in the rest with scenes that would work to get me from point A to point B. I pick up my major plots and my subplots along the way.

The first time I tried it was a bit rocky. I was like a child learning to walk. But the second time I tried it, was like running a marathon. Writing a book just became markedly easier. I was no longer lost in the middle of my bizarre ideas. I had direction and focus.

The bonus to the wall art method, is the pretty colors from the different sticky notes. With each story, comes a new wall art configuration.

Though I am in the midst of my rough draft of my third novel, I can't wait to finish the outline for the fourth. It's so much fun outlining my novels. I'm happy to become a plantser.

Remember, every author is different. The only method that is superior is the one the works best for you.


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