Fellow friends, writers, bloggers, readers. I regret to announce that this is the death of Ever-The-Pantser-Beth. I am no longer a person who writes with no abandon and no outline.
Just… take a look at this screenshot below. You know what this is? It’s an… an… *whispers* an outline for my WIP. *GASP*
So, yeah. I’m now a plotter. Well, sorta. Here’s the thing about re-writes: it’s kinda important to have some idea where your story is going by the time you’re in the 2nd draft of a novel. So, with this 2nd draft, I’m finally keeping an outline-type thing. And I really like this format. It’s just a Google doc. (For the record, the document’s official title is “Dragon Story Brain Dump.” Because I refuse to officially have an “outline” for my novel lol.) Here’s some reasons why I’ve really been enjoying this method of “outlining.”
1. It’s so flexible.
And as I go through the story, I can add notes and questions and details. Nothing is set in stone, because the outline is literally just bullet points and sub-points. In the past, I’ve tried out Scrivener and other similar plotting software, and I found they were too much for me. It took too long to organize my notes, so I felt like I lost time when I was trying to use them to plot my story. (To be clear, lots of writers adore Scrivener and other programs. But they’re not for everyone.) A simple Google doc is easy to edit and re-arrange, and I can see my whole plot at once. I can add in as much detail as I want to, and it doesn’t bog down the flow of the outline.
2. It’s not intimidating.
My lil Google doc with its silly name is inviting, simple, and streamlined. It doesn’t feel like an official outline, so it doesn’t feel like it has to be perfect. I can use abbreviations and question marks, and no one cares. It’s fun to use, and it’s fun to see my plot coming together as I work through this draft of my WIP.
3. It’s not distracting.
Some of the nifty plotting softwares I’ve used, such as Scriviner and Scrapple, simply have too many features. I get distracted by changing font colors and dotted lines and labeling everything correctly and it’s just too much. My Google doc doesn’t have any bells and whistles. It’s just a word-doc. It serves its purpose perfectly, and I don’t get distracted by any extra features. I have more time for writing and actually getting stuff done.
4. I can access it whenever.
Since it’s a Google doc, I can access it from anywhere I have internet. I can also access it from my phone any time, so no matter where I am, I can grab my phone and jot down some ideas. I love having my plot in my pocket everywhere I go.
5. Everything is in one place.
Along with a plot outline, this document is also the place where I’ve been keeping notes on my novel’s world, magic system, and magical creatures. I also have sections for characters, potion recipes, and places that characters visit. It’s just so nice to have EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE. It helps me avoid continuity errors, and it helps me easily find information. (That way I’m not spending ten minutes searching through a chapter to find that one obscure spell that I forgot.)
ALRIGHTY, FOLKS. I’m off to go write, with my nifty
outline Google document to assist me.