Chris Cookley

Almost done with this outline

I’ve been telling you how I’m working on Book 0 of my new series over the last few posts, but what I really mean by that is I’ve been working on the outline for Book 0. And I’m happy to announce that it’s just about done.

I’m an outliner, but not everyone is. Some people just start writing. I’ve written both ways, and have had more success with an outline.

Typically, I start by filling a notebook with as many rough scene ideas as I can, one sentence each. No holding back, no over thinking anything, just a massive brain dump. Then I rearrange those scenes into a coherent order, and then I start fleshing those sentences out. Eventually, as I keep layering on the information, rearranging the order, and adding and subtracting whole scenes, a completed outline emerges.

In my writing process, outlining is when I get to be really creative. It’s when the story becomes a thing and not just a formless mass of disjointed ideas.

Once the outline is complete, I start writing.

That’s just about where I’m at now. This morning I finished my mostly fully fleshed out outline. I’ll go through it again and add some small details before it’s really done, but it’s not long now until I can start writing, and put down that oh-so-important opening sentence. I might go with something like this:

In less than a second, the beautiful spring day unfolding through the countryside exploded in a cloud-scraping fire ball.

You know, just a little something something to catch a readers attention.

Anyway, my outline is basically done. It’s not 100 pages long like a Dan Brown outline, but it’s also not nothing. I should be able to get through my first draft pretty quick with it. I’ll keep you updated on that.

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