Remember those kits we had as children? A box of watercolors or crayons or even magic markers (belated apologies to my mother on that last one), a black and white drawing of a princess or a field of horses… all we had to do was follow the diagram, and soon there would be a four-color masterpiece. (Well, it seemed masterful to me at age 6, anyway…)
I miss them sometimes, those kits. And I find myself applying a similar principle to my writing: drawing = outline, painting = book. I’ve learned to do most of my outlining on the weekends, when what time I have is little less structured. Since I try to write almost every day, and most weeknights I can only fiind an hour or so to do it, it helps to have a template.
What I do is make a super-short list of the scenes I need to write for my next chapter, then try to outline the first few scenes over the weekend. Often, by the time Wednesday night rolls around and I’ve written all the scenes I’ve outlined, I’m “into” the book to keep going – flying without a net, you might say. And, of course, I never need to outline the scenes with my main characters, Laurie and Tim. I know then pretty well by now.
But I’ll admit – as much as I appreciate the model, I hope my fnished product is just a little more professional than a paint-by-nunbers picture!