Earlier I talked about the importance of creating an outline to use as your guide or blueprint in constructing your manuscript. In this post I want to talk specifically what I do when create my outline. First of all I sit down and spend approx half a day creating my outline for my new book. Amazingly one can basically put together the entire book, chapter by chapter of a 150,000 word manuscript in just one half day! I already have a good idea of how I want to start and end the book or maybe I don’t. I just begin by taking an hour or two brainstorming the book through and eventually I settle on the opening chapter. I then take the story from there with an end goal in mind. I decide up front how long I would like the book to be (chapters) and the minimum word count for each chapter. I furiously jot down a couple of sentences for each of the chapters allowing myself to feel the story and see it progress in my mind chapter to chapter. Before long, bam, I have typed out the blueprint to a manuscript of 45 chapters!
When I begin to write these chapters I use this outline as a guide and I keep myself fluid and flexible enough to allow the story to move in other directions other than what I originally mapped out. I have found that at the end of the book I have followed the outline fairly closely. It’s incredible what half of a day of focused thought can create!