Writing

Advice On Starting A First Draft

Outline

Sketch a timeline of events that will happen. Brainstorm scenes using sticky notes and move them accordingly. Create character sketches beforehand, so you have a better understanding of key players in your novel.

Research

Reading articles, essays, or books might inspire you to write your own. Besides, Google is your best friend.

Write

At some point, that first draft needs to be written. Unfortunately, it won’t write itself. So pick up a pen or open your word processor of choice. Grab an idea and run with it.

Relax

Take a deep breath. You don’t have to get it right the first time. Try to silence your inner editor for now. You can always make a draft better, but you can’t if it doesn’t exist yet.

Writing

Why I Hate Outlining

Outlining isn’t writing. I’m a writer, not an outliner. Besides, I love writing, not outlining.

It drives me insane. Outlining might as well be the bane of my existence.

Outlining takes time. I could spend those hours writing instead. Besides, we only have 24 hours every day. I can’t afford to spend half of it on an outline.

An outline doesn’t guarantee anything. When my plans fall through, I’m back at square one.

My characters take one look at my outline and proceed to do the exact opposite. I bet they laugh at me behind my back too.

It requires a certain mood. I almost never want to outline.

Outlining isn’t fun. At least writing is some of the time.

I don’t follow my outlines. The one time I did, I didn’t finish my novel. That manuscript has been rotting away for years now.

It can lead you down rabbit holes. You might not recognize you need to be saved until it’s too late.

Outlining doesn’t work for everybody. Exhibit A: me.

Some teachers want you to hand in outlines. I wrote my essay first and then created an outline later. Because I’m a rebel.

I dread the thought of outlining almost as much as I do driving. You just never know what might happen.

Outlining puts off writing. We all know writers are masters at procrastinating.

Outline for too long and you have one day to write and edit your final essay. Good luck.

It can be inefficient. Which is unproductive. As a student writer, I need all the productivity I can get.

Outlining will never compare to writing. I’d rather edit than outline. What has the world come to? I’ll pick the lesser of two evils, thank you very much.

I’m sort of, kind of joking. Seriously, I don’t hate outlining that much.

Writing

My Novel Writing Process

I’ve written some novels in my lifetime. But whenever I undertake a new one, I’m not sure how I’ll make it to the end. This is a glimpse into my writing process.

Brainstorming

I’m a character-centric writer. Always have been, always will be. So I tend to come up with an interesting person and throw conflict at him or her as I go.

Outlining

Based on past experience, if I had to outline every novel for the rest of my life, I’d be on pace to never finish another one ever again. I sort of outline in my head. Depends on your definition of outlining though.

Writing

It isn’t too bad once I get past the beginning and middle.

Researching

I tend to research after I finish an initial draft where I brainstorm my own ideas first.

Waiting

I like to wait a long time in between writing the first draft and all that follows after.

Transcribing  

I handwrite most of my novels, so at some point, I have to type everything up onto the computer.

Critiquing

The one novel I sought feedback on was incomplete at the time, and it still is about six years after the fact. At least I like critiquing my own work. I’d much rather crush my own ego than have someone else do so.

Rewriting

I enjoy losing my sanity and seeing improvements at the same time.

Editing

Some stories don’t even get this far. What a shame.

Publishing

Obviously, I’m not at this stage yet. If my dreams come true, I don’t know how I’ll refrain myself from talking about my books.

Procrastinating

I procrastinate so much it’s a miracle I get anything done on time. Sadly, I put things off at all stages of the novel writing process. Nothing like consistency, am I right?

Reading

Even when I’m writing a novel and it’s a priority like during NaNoWriMo, I try to read as much as I can. Books inspire me. Other stories have inspired my own.

Celebrating

I celebrate the small victories as much or maybe even more than the big ones. I believe in rewarding myself. Otherwise, my motivation would be six feet under.

What’s your novel writing process like? I’d love to know.

Writing

Reverse Outlining 

A second before I started writing this post, I sighed. So you can imagine just how I feel about outlining. Even outlining hat happens after an essay is written. Behold reverse outlining.

It doesn’t seem that bad in theory. Unless you’re forced to do a reverse outline on a half finished rough draft of an essay. Reverse outlining is probably more helpful and useful after you write an entire essay, not while you’re still in the midst of writing one. But what would I know about outlining. It’s not like I ever outline. 

Still, I may or may not try to reverse outline this month, assuming I can muster up the energy and time to.

Let it be known that I’m open-minded and willing to try new things. Definitely not stubborn and set in my own ways. Or bitter and resentful about others trying to ruin my perfectly good brainstorming, writing, and editing process.

I have a few issues with outlining, as you can tell. I doubt I’ll ever sort them out.

Writing

Oh, Outlining

I don’t outline 300 page novels. So what makes you think I’m going to outline 3 page essays?

Teachers and their unbelievable expectations, eh?

I don’t outline unless I have to. So when I am outlining, it’s safe to say I’d rather be doing a million other things. Like writing.

Most of the time, I brainstorm or generate ideas without writing anything down. On the rare occasion I have to outline, I tend to dump everything in my brain onto the page. And try to make it presentable for my professor.

I guess I’m too impatient to make an outline before I start writing.

In my world, outlining isn’t writing. Similarly, editing isn’t writing.

I have nothing against outlining. I just don’t love it as much as I love writing.

Writing

Why I Don’t Outline

If you didn’t know, I don’t outline. If you did know and you were wondering why, I’m about to tell you (in very few words because that’s my style).

  • I don’t know how to.
  • It’s fun not to.
  • I like surprises.
  • I’d rather be writing.
  • I never follow outlines.
Writing

NaNoWriMo Problems

I use the word “problems” lightly. Like I do with most words.

First off, I can’t seem to write the novel I’m working on in a linear fashion. It’s a mess. Much like my whole life. I started in the midst of things, and now I’m telling some much needed backstory. I think my mind is just trying to piece together events or moments in a coherent yet jumbled manner. Good job brain.

Have I ever mentioned that I rarely outline? Outlining isn’t a skill I’ve acquired, much less mastered. So I don’t know what happens next. I don’t even have a concrete ending. I just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Especially when it doesn’t.

I love my characters. I just don’t know them as well as I’d like. Up until today I didn’t have a surname for my main character. I do now. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll find out what she does for a living. Because right now the only thing she’s doing is driving me insane.

These are nice problems to have. Don’t you think?

Writing

Mistakes I Love To Make Every November

Don’t be me.

Outlining inadequately.

Kind of like solving a math problem without knowledge of all the relevant concepts. I get stuck and have no idea what to do next. I can’t be a writer and a math genius. My brain isn’t that big.

Knowing what happens in the beginning and end but not the middle.

Similar to running around in an unfamiliar room while blindfolded. You managed to get there and you know there’s an exit somewhere. Now just get out somehow.

Being unacquainted with some of my characters.

The equivalent of going to a party where you know the host and no one else. Don’t be shy. They don’t bite. Unless they’re vampires. Then be careful.

I hope those analogies made sense. If not, you’ll have to wait until I recover from my pre-NaNo, NaNo, and post-NaNo breakdown.