Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Grilled Pastrami on rye with mustard and just a smidge of horseradish. And soup. I don't care what kind, as long as it's hot so I can wrap my hands around the bowl.

First I'd like to give a big shout out Welcome and Thank You to my new friends. (Not followers, I am not a cult.) Leigh, Carolyn, Melissa, PK, Tracy, Jennifer, Amie, Debra Ann, Hanny, Theresa, Bryan, Amy, Brenda, The Happy Whisk, Kimber, Melissa, Emy, Len, Perri and Ann. I have coffee and something to gnosh on in the dining room so feel free to grab a cup and hang out. We get a little crazy from time to time but it's all good.

Monster Baby's birthday party went well. Her favorite gift -- the fly swatter. Who knew? She said, "Oh Mommy this is what I've wanted for so long." Even the Silly Bands were pushed aside for the swatter. Crazy kid, but what did I expect with me being a crazy mother.

Any-hoo, I've been working on the premise of the second book in my Regency series. (Now that REMEMBERING YOU is out to query I decided I needed to work on something new.) Not that this story is new, but I've totally revamped the plot and think it's stronger.

I even wrote an outline. Something I do not usually do. And I didn't write it in my pants either, this is a true story outline, with chapter headings and scenes and chapter breaks and everything. (Hey Sarah, I even broke out my index cards.)

This is what the first index card looks like (Now don't steal my ideas lol)

Chapter One
Scene one Violet's POV

Violet saves Jane. Violet meets Ellis. Lady Rose > up to the carriage. On the way home in the carriage.

Pgs. 1 - 8

So what does this outline mean? What does the four days I spent working on this bring to the table?

Well, it means I won't be head-hopping anymore. Now that I know which scenes belong to who(m) [I can never get that right] I won't have to go on such a long search and destroy mission later. It also means I can write whatever scenes I want, whenever I want, and then insert them later. It means I won't get lost when the characters start screaming at me pulling me in 15 different directions. Now I can tell them, "We can't go there, we have to follow the outline." (Something I really wish I had done with Genna and Pete.)

Now the question is (for me) do I really think having an outline will help me write this book any faster? (Not fast in the sense I can bang it out in a NaNo month but fast in the sense that the words will flow.) The answer is -- I don't know.

The question for you is -- do you think having an outline (instead of being a panster) allows the work to progress at a faster pace? Does having an outline REALLY help you stay on track? (Or are your characters like mine and balk at having things so laid out for them?)

Have a great weekend everyone!!!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd just stare at the blank paper if I didn't have an outline. I need a map or I don't go anywhere. Thing about road travel and writing - you never know what you'll encounter along the way.
She liked the fly swatter? Get her more - one in every color!

Anne Gallagher said...

Alex -- I love maps. Problem is even when using them I get lost too. MB ended up wih 2 bright pink fly swatters. I was going to go with the flourescent green but pink is better for a girl. ha

Matthew MacNish said...

Man that sandwich sounds good. Hopefully I can dip it into some French Onion soup.

I definitely need an outline, at least a loose one, to make sure the characters don't take over the plot, but that doesn't mean that's going to work for everyone.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I outlined my first novel. By chapter three my character was already leading me astray. My "outlines" now are composed of about a dozen bullets comprising the direction of the story.

Tracy said...

What? This ISN'T a cult? I'm out!

I'll stop being stupid now and answer the question. My WIP is the first time I've outlined (with index cards). I only outlined scenes so I knew the overall arc of the story, but it's loose enough to make changes.

I've always been a fast writer & slow reviser, so I can't say if it's helped me write faster. But it has help me not get stuck on passages. If I'm struggling with a spot I fill in what makes sense at the moment to get me to my next scene, knowing I can flush it out later. That's a big help!

Al said...

A few words of outline make things flow for me. Not too much though or I feel constrained.

Anne Gallagher said...

Matthew -- I used to work with a loose outline when I was around halfway through the book. This is the first true outline I've ever done.

Mac -- I like bullets.

Tracy -- No, sorry, no cults here. I've been loose before but my writing went all over the place. This time I want to see if I can stick to it.

Al -- Yeah, that's what I hate most about the outline, I always feel constrained. I can't write what I want. I'll have to work on that.

Sarah Ahiers said...

yay for the index cards! I'll be pulling mine out again soon.
For me, the outline just keeps me on track. So when i finish a scene i don't just stop. I can look at the outline and see "ok this is what happens next" and then jump into the scene. Otherwise i'd sit there and hem and haw trying to think of what to do next.

Anonymous said...

My characters hate outlines. They (the outlines... and the characters, actually) do not like when I try to use them. I tried to outline the first part of one of my novels and felt so confined and trapped that I almost trashed the entire idea.

I prefer writing as the words/ideas come. I think it's the only aspect of my life that I don't want/need planned out ahead of time.

Linda G. said...

Couldn't tell you. I've never been able to outline. I've tried, and all it does is show me what won't happen, because my characters contrary critters. ;)

Melissa Gill said...

I tried to do an outline once, but after I'd done all that planning and organizing, I started to hate the story. I'm a panster, can't help it. I mean I have a rough idea about where the story's going to go, but I get so much more from my characters when I let them surprise me sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I love pastrami on rye!

I have rarely outlined. But I think I'm going to try a very rough one for something I'm working on. I think it's a gut feeling--whether to outline or not.
Ann Best, A Long Journey Home

Hanny said...

In his book "On Writing," Stephen King says that he just sits down and writes without an outline. Personally, I believe that there's no wrong way to go as long as it helps you put those words down on paper because that's the ultimate goal, right? I know that many writers love the organization and guidance of an outline. Great post!

VR Barkowski said...

Love pastrami on rye! Am I too late?

Outlines? They slow me down and do nothing to help me stay the course. I had a detailed outline (28 pgs) for my first novel. Each time one of my characters ignored me and did something totally unscripted, I would adjust my outline accordingly. Turned out I was spending more time writing the outline than the WIP. That's how this pantser was born.

I do think every writer should try to outline at least once. If it works for you, fabulous. If it doesn't, you'll know soon enough. I'm anal enough to *wish* it worked for me.

Christine said...

I want to come over to the Grille and eat with you. yummy!! Good that you're starting a new project. That's what I am doing as well. And glad your daughter's bday party went well.

Happy Writing!

The Words Crafter said...

I used a kind of outline and my MC went squirrelly on me. It worked out, though.

I'm not organized enough for index cards yet, but I can totally see how it can be helpful. It should cut down on a lot of work later.

I'm glad she like the fly swatter!

Natascha said...

I outline pretty much the first three chapters to make a strong impression, from there I just write. I will keep the outline updated, maybe move scenes between chapters and insert other scenes where I think they'd make a better appearance. After three chapters, my characters have fair game :)

G.~ said...

Well, I wrote about 97,000 words first, as if someone were trying to steal my limbs and then I wrote an outline.

I know that makes no sense to most, but when I tried to sit and write an outline I would get stuck. I just needed to write.

When I took a break from it to go back to school, I was sitting at the kitchen table trying to think of what I could do to avoid my homework and out came the outline. Just like that.

I feel like I can now put my book in order and have a decent crappy rough draft.

How will it be on the next book? I'll let you know when I finish the first.

February Grace said...

I tried it recently and found out that outlines only slow me down. But I'm just weird that way. Okay, lots of ways.

hope you're having a great weekend!


Anonymous said...

Her favorite gift: the fly swatter. It never ceases to amaze me what a child will like. Why do parents spend so much money sometimes on gifts when the child wants something "simple?"

Hope you've had a wonderful Sunday.
Ann Best, A Long Journey Home

notesfromnadir said...

I like that about followers vs friends. I prefer the term friends, too & wish I could change it on my blogs. Right now the heading is: PEOPLE WHO READ, but I can't change the rest of the wording.

Use the outline & see if it works. It's a great idea, of course, but only by implementing it will you see if it's your style.