And we’re back with Chapter Two of K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel.
Zoe: I found this chapter…odd. It covers types of outlines (but only a select few random types of outlines) and tools you can use for outlining (again, a very select few: longhand, yWriter, and calendars). I know she said either in this chapter or chapter one that she was going to talk about what she uses for her process, but…would it not have made sense to expand a little bit?
Ana: I guess you’re right about that. Among others, I was missing mentions of any of the ‘tools’ I use. (Scrivener, Scapple… that time line thingy I keep hearing about…Aeon? I know some writers use EverNote and tools like it.)
Zoe: I’ve been using Evernote a lot, in large part because it syncs across my devices. Yay for convenience. (And of course also the ever-trusty Post-It notes.)
Kate: I still like my white boards. Something about the fact that it’s meant to be erased makes it easier when I need to work something out in a way that’s less permanent than pen on paper (even on the computer, it feels permanent. Weird.) I did like that she mentioned personalizing your style of outlining, and offering wildly varying examples. Though it seemed odd after all the rah rah-ing about detailed outlines in Chapter 1.
Zoe: I did like the methods she offered for outlining—mind maps, and using pictures, and all of that—it just felt like…she was missing stuff. I mean, I’mn not thinking of specific stuff or an exhaustive list, but it seemed like she picked some playful examples and didn’t use anything that, um…actually gave you an outline of some sort?
Kate: I think she was trying to give us a starting point? There’s so much stuff out there, though…
Zoe: Yeah, I’m just going to go with “This chapter could have been better thought out.”
Ana: I thought using the pictures thing might help me put more descriptions into my stories. Since I’m not naturally a visual person.
Zoe: I liked the “write the perfect review for your book” suggestion. Thinking about what you’d want a reviewer to say at the end of it all seems like a good way to coalesce what you want to accomplish with the story.
Kate: That’s interesting, because that didn’t work for me at all. (I think it’s the Calvinist upbringing.) But that just sent my brain spinning and I noped right out at that point.
Zoe: See, I pictured it as less of a “reader review” and more of a critical review (critical as in analytical, not “pointing out the bad things.”) And that intrigued me.
Kate: I pictured an analytical review, too, but it still wigged me out. Again, Calvinist.
Zoe: 😀 See, this is why she needed more suggestions. There were only three! And one wigs Kate out, and one exhausts me (the pictures one).
Ana: Did everyone of us at least get one thing out of it? I got the pictures, though not for the reasons she suggested.
Zoe: I’m going to try the mind maps for the upcoming book. And in longhand! (But there’s no way I’m writing any actual outlines in longhand. I’ll never be able to read it.)
Ana: I’m already doing long-hand mind maps.
Kate: I really didn’t take much from this chapter. I think my brainstorming on paper and whiteboard might just be my ‘outlining’ technique. I tried yWriter years ago and didn’t care for it, and I already use some form of the calendaring thing.
Zoe: yWriter was too form-y/worksheet-y for me.
Kate: I like how Scrivener has the chapter you’re writing, and the little box on the right that you can stick notes in, and you can see the whole structure on the left. I’m going to get myself a 40 inch tv for a monitor and then all I’ll be able to see is my story.
Ana: And this chapter ends with a lovely interview!
Kate; Oh, he annoyed me.
Ana: Me too. All that talk about settling on what works rather than what works best if you’re not outlining. Also that there are no pitfalls to outlining (maybe), other than ~convincing~ yourself you can’t do it. Like, if it doesn’t work for you, you’re just being a child about it.
Kate: Outlining is more efficient. Pantsers don’t have any of the fundamental skills, and even if they do, they still have to make one stand out so they stand out. It takes longer when pantsing. (Excuse me while I find one of this guy’s books to burn in effigy.) Oh, and you have to be a genius to pants out a decent story the first time, because rewrite and drafts are bad.
Ana: I don’t take offense to being called a genius. 😉
Kate: You’re only a genius if it flows from your fingers, perfect in all its parts, the first time. Because the implication is that outliners don’t have to do revision or editing. Seriously. (Face, meet desk.)