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  • Alyssa Drake

Day 76 - Post-it Notes

I have the attention span of a gnat.


I intended to work on the Halloween doors today, however, I found myself picking at the beginning outline for the second book in my historical co-write series. I never considered myself a plotter, in fact, I was adamantly against it because I felt it stifled the creative process. However, I discovered while writing A Perfect Deception that I had inadvertently created a makeshift outline through post-it notes. Yup.


Picture this. I wrote plot points, one per post-it, and stuck them to a large sheet, then rearranged the points until I reached the order in which I wanted the events to occur. I consider it to be a living outline, because I could move the points as needed. While this is a fun method, it's not very portable, so I started creating skeleton outlines, and then filling them in as the details emerged.


Over time I developed a hybrid outline process which is partially detailed, and allows for changes as I'm writing (those moments when I have an epiphany and want to tweak the direction of the story). This process also means that I spend several days working on the outline, but tonight's focus is just the major pieces, which works out to be usually 7 - 9 large events that sum up the story. On my second pass (which won't occur tonight), I'll flesh that out into one sentence per chapter. The third pass is for ensuring the story flows in a logical manner, and to add specific details that must be included in specific chapters. Then, I begin writing. As the story progresses, I'll come back and revise the outline to make sure I've included events that were not previously recorded.


But for tonight, I've got my skeleton done. Check that off the list.

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