Outline for Deadworld Three

In keeping with my desire to show how I’m progressing through Deadworld 3, here is the first thing I start with, the outline. While it would certainly be more interesting if you could actually read what is written down there, that would kind of spoil things a bit, wouldn’t it? Some of you might realize the screenshot as being from MS Powerpoint, which it is indeed. I use the slides as notecards to put my thoughts down, and it provides the flexibility to shuffle things around and easily edit. Powerpoint slides also allow for notes with each slide so I can fill in minor details as I think of them, so that I don’t forget when I get to writing that particular chapter. These could be small character details, like making sure a character speaks about something specific because it’s going to be brought up later.

The intention of the notes is to help maintain consistency with things throughout the book, as my memory is for shit, and I need all the help I can get. As an aside, I’ve had one reader point out a consistency issue in Deadworld which was missed by myself and the copyeditor. Kudos to those of you on the ball enough to spot it. Hint, it’s in second half of story and has to do with Laurel. It’s a minor consistency detail, but if I’d kept notes like I’m going to try and do here with D3, I would not have made the error.

In outline form, this makes a nice, bulleted type synopsis of the story. Each slide here is notes on a chapter, and yes, this is pretty much each chapter in the book. As I’ve stated before I’m a pretty heavy plotter, and I know the basic course of my whole story before I start writing. At a glance, you’ll see that some chapters have a fair bit more info than others. My notes will range from the simple indication of an event down to indicating specific emotional content that needs to come across in the scene. The important thing for me, is that I have a solid sense of how the whole story is put together. I’m not anal enough to detail everything. Honestly I don’t think that’s required, but it’s important to me to know where I’m going, what’s up ahead, and what things need to be put in place for later in the story. Much of this has to do with the fact that I’m not a very good editor, so I try to write in such a way as to avoid any major editing at the end. My goal: the first draft is my main draft, and short of cleaning things up at the end, I have no structural changes to make in the story.

So, this is a little peek at step one. I’m now ready to start putting words on the page, and I’ll try to provide some insight and detail into that as I go along here over the next four months, so that you can see how one writer at least, goes about putting their story together. Happy reading/writing everyone!

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6 responses to “Outline for Deadworld Three

  1. Wow, that is definitely the full hot order and very interesting to see how you create. I’m a panster myself and like to wing it – with a few notes flying around – and, like Henri, see where the story takes me. Of course, thanks to consistency issues, my MC usually ends up a totally different person by the end and I don’t even realize it. Sometimes not even human. I should probably get back into selling insurance…

  2. I was very interested to see how you write your books. Personally, I prefer the opposite approach (as promoted by NaWriMo), where you start at point A, not knowing quite where the story will take you. Nonetheless, Good luck with your #3, as I haven’t a clue which method is better.

  3. Recommend you have a look at Scrivener. It has a similar function that is far more integrated and customizable, including being able to incorporate research media (if you want to) and to transfer a storyboard to an outline, to much more. Highly recommended and very affordable writing prog and worth every cent.

  4. Thanks for posting about your process – it’s so interesting to see how writers go about the technical aspects of writing, and it makes (me at least) appreciate the final product even more to see the effort that went into it. It’s fascinating!

  5. Wow! That’s very impressive. I’m a loose plotter, so it is interesting to see the level of detail you get into before even putting words on the page. Good luck with the writing; that’s the best part as far as I am concerned….and thanks for sharing!