Writer Notebook: Working outline

This method allows me to create my own outline without missing feeling like I forgot anything story-beat-wise important.

My writing process is slowly evolving to something new. Something I like.

In the rough outline, I asked myself the basic questions about the characters, I researched, I went back to my old Pinterest board to remind myself what caught my attention in the past year or so.

With the new story in mind, for a week or so, I then brainstormed.

Before the words

No taking notes, but grabbing every image, every quote related in a way or another to the story. Ideas, characters, creatures, worldbuilding details, funny scenes, all of it went around and around in my humble brain.
The story was in the back of my mind when I was reading the newspaper, or a magazine, or a story with kiddo.

The rough outline kinda morphed as the main characters grew more complex, more defined.

At some point, I started writing the Main Character reference sheet. You know, eye colors, height, weight, bad habits, favorite foods, then I went on with the backstory, and the Main Character parents backstories.
The past it was defines a person, up to the point when we meet them, up to a turning point in the persons’ life.
It finally sinked in me, and now I start at the beginning instead of having to stop in the middle of the story to figure this or that about the parents history, early childhood.

Then, I moved on to the other characters. I go in details in the four or five characters surrounding the Main Character, giving a story of their own.

In this novel, the vilain is the society and the culture the characters live-in. They’re some bad guys, but since it’s a medieval-fantasy, going heavy on archetypes, I’m not going too deep with the backstory there.

Before writing the working outline, for this project, I did something I haven’t done in a very long, long time: handwriting.

It took five-six days before it got to a point where I needed to figure things out.

That’s where I went back to the drawing board per say. And write the « final » outline.

Outlining not required

For the working outline, in other words the outline I will work with, I use the wonderful outline process author Kat from Katytastic came up with. I’ll link her video right here. So useful. I also loooved her video about how she drafts. It opened doors and windows in my mind, I’m sooo grateful for it.

Anyway, her outlining method allows me to create my own outline without missing feeling like I forgot anything story-beat-wise important.

Even though I feel pretty confident with this 30 chapters outline, I accept the fact that I may just throw it out within 30 000 words into the first draft.

We will see, writer friends. We will see.

Aside from outlining, I struggle with creating a clear, easy to read reference notebook (I could use the common term story bible, but I hate it, so yeah, reference notebook it is, writer friends!).

For this project, I got myself many notebooks and pretty, pretty pen, pencils, markers, you name it, I bought it. On sale.
Now, the only thing left to do is start. And keep at it.

I’ll let you know how it went and how I approach the task in another Writer Notebook post.

That’s it for now, writer friends. Thanks for reading!


On the Internet-verse:


Helping Authors becomes Authors

Samantha Allaker 

Vivien Reis


On paper: 

The Anatomy of Story, by John Trudy

Save the Cat!, by Blake Snyder

On Writing, by Stephen King

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

Comment je suis devenu cannibale, de François Gravel

Auteur : Marie Alice

Writing away and reading books. Joy! Écrire à tout vent et lire des romans. Joie!

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