Currently reading the book “OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOU WAY TO SUCCESS “ by K. M. Weiland.

credits Warner Bros

According to Larry Brooks whom the author interviewed about the greatest benefits of outlining:

“Creatively, it is the opportunity to explore all possible and reasonable beats or moments in a story without having to actually write it. When that happens the writing simply becomes embellishment and life-giving, rather than exploration. If you know what happens – the mission of a scene – then writing it is one of two things: execution or seeking a better idea. With outlining you do that seeking pre-draft and thus you avoid the temptation to “settle” simply because “hey it works, I need to move on”. With outlining, what simply “works” (in a drafting process) is trumped by what works best.”

I found his perspective reasonably balanced although I do disagree with the”writing becomes embellishment and life-giving instead of exploration”.  Personally, the reason I tend to experience blockage when it comes to extensive plotting is because I feel like once I explore every possible nook and cranny the initial excitement may wear off.  Which I am sure may prove to be completely untrue. I don’t mind the exploration at all because I find this is the most fun part since I get to discover the story alongside the characters. Crafting new characters is just like having new babies, you get excited just by looking at them; you start by stalking every possible little resemblance to you!  I know a character is ready and well fleshed out when they start developing a mind of their own and refuse to go along with the initial plan. When that first happens I am usually pissed like “I created you so get with the program”, but then I remind myself that just like children they need to find their own way in life and the fact that they’ve taken a  life of their own  simply means that they are well articulated individuals if not completely sane. Frankly, I don’t like the word “pantser”, it implies sloppiness and absolute lack of planning in my mind, and I much prefer “character-driven” VS plot-driven.

I think that some genres are less amenable to “pantsing“than others. As an example maybe Fantasy or thrillers would probably require some form of extensive planning and it would be practically impossible to wing it. I am sure we could find many other types of examples.

In my case, what might be considered “pantsing” is actually spending quality time with the characters to discover who they are, what makes them tick, what is wrong with them, what they are avoiding in their lives, with absolutely no pressure for them to performg any particular act in any particular order. I just want to get to know them, no pressure. I do think that, just like people, “characters” when they know nothing is expected of them, they tend to show up as their real selves.

I have come to realize in my writing life that the method that will probably work best for me is to first focus on developing the characters with a light outline that is not restrictive and then once I feel I have a good grip of the characters, to go for an extensive plotting session in order to explore “all possible and reasonable beats and moments of the story” just like Mr Brooks suggested.

Once the characters are well formed I find that they basically hand me the plot.

I am not even half way through the book yet but I  am convinced that overall, this specific bit has tremendously helped me in incorporating more solid outlines in my writing process.

And last, but not least: “have fun! You’re playing God!” Which is probably why I am a writer in the first place. If only getting pregnant could be that easy…..more on that next week…

5 things I will never understand

This post was written because of this article that I read on the artsy teen blog. she listed 10 things that she will never understand and I thought it was so funny that I decided to do the same.

  1. People who sports extremely long nails that make them look like Edward Scissorhands.
Photo by Steve Jurvetson

I mean why on earth would you incapacitate yourself? Actually the only way I can see these becoming handy is if you are in a fight with a werewolf or  you need to dig your own grave.

2) Why after criticizing those nails (see number one), I went ahead and got mine done the exact same way…to my defense, I did not do the full claw-like stiletto nails and only realized the ridicule of my situation once I got home. After just a few days of sporting these nails my respect for the girls who can get away with them grew exceedingly…I basically had to keep my hands very far away from my face for fear of accidentally poking an eye out.  At work, it felt like I was typing with two left foot and reading what I had typed you’d think I had typed the material drunk…BUT… my nails looked so glamorous that I fear I might be becoming…addicted…I know I am a sheep:)  Considering my style is more classy sporty than high maintenance snow queen I feel very conflicted about this revelation…Will I do them again? Yes!! Nothing saddens me more than to discover that i am not the person I thought I was….lol


(I swear I wasn’t trying to brag about my ring:) but while we’re on the subject, what do you think of my ring?:)

3) My husband’s excessive collection of remote controls and devices which are plugged into just ONE TV!!?? JUST ONE!!! This TV has more add-ons and plugins and whatnot than a person in intensive care! Even my niece who is technology-savvy failed to get it to work one time my husband was away and had to call him!?…One of the things that keep me sane though is knowing that on the main remote there’s a big button with a very big Netflix sign clearly written on it that I can just press without having to call for help. Without this big button I think my sanity would have been endangered


4) People who buy big TVs. You see…my plan, when I die, is to carry some of my favorite things in my coffin with me…I can hardly do that with a big TV, can I? My husband tried to compare his TV to a Hermes bag…are you kidding me? The sin of all sins…this should be included in the twelve commandments: “Thou shall not compare your big awful TV with the beautiful and timeless Hermes…Now drop and give me ten!” BUT…I think I may be becoming addicted to the big screens…I know I am a sheep:)

(Note from the Husband:”You can’t watch your favorite tv show on any Hermes bag and I don’t think you would be able to go back to your old fashioned CRT Tv 😉 “

5) People who wear extremely high heels. I can understand wanting to add a couple of inches to one’s height but to want to double it!!???…some of those heels are so outrageously high they should come with walking sticks and proof of disability insurance should be mandatory! Have you ever tried sharing a crowded sidewalk with a girl in very high heels in winter? I am not a murderer but I do feel like this could be an inciting event. So I’ve thought about it and I think that there should be a designated lane for people in high heels during rush hours so that mere mortals can get to work as fast as their low unsexy heels allow them to.