Friday, June 7, 2013
A manuscript would take much less time to produce if I had a blueprint before I started writing. But really, it's wishful thinking.
Aside from a few pages of vague notes, my characters perform better if I don't boss them around in the rough draft stage. I've told them an outline would help. They don't care. But I'll keep trying, and when I see a different method for outlining, I take notice.
I found an interesting exercise for outlining the other day over at Teaching Authors. This exercise was conceived by Alicia Rasley, but was brought to my attention by TA contributor Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford. Thank you, Jeanne Marie!
In "Outline Your Novel in 30 Minutes", Rasley suggests you set a timer and answer a set of nine questions, allowing yourself three minutes for each question. Touching on plot points and character motivations, the questions allow you to respond quickly without becoming bogged down with the details. Honestly, it may take you more time to read the article and prepare yourself mentally than the actual exercise.
I can see this exercise as a useful tool to use a few times in the early stages of writing. I'll be trying it for the first time today as a warm-up. Try as they may, my characters won't be able to stop me.