Monday, June 20, 2011

Brain Book/ Plotter Plans

Here’s what I have been up to lately. Today, I am embarking on the journey that is outlining my next book. The good thing about this is that whenever I get an idea, I write down so much about it (in my brain book) that outlining is just taking the bare bones of the story and flushing it out into scenes.

Just to clarify, what I mean by “brain book” is that I have this book that is my catch-all for everything writing or creative related. I have a dream; I write it down there. I hear a song that’s particularly amazing; I write it down there for future reference. I read a book; I add it to a growing list in the book (new addition to the book after many a frustration of forgetting a title). If I get struck by a new book idea; I write it down there. I hate having notes every which place, so having this book helps.

In this book (like this but unlined* and with a different cover), I recently combed through it to see how many book plots/ideas I have come up with since I started this book and made a numbered list from it, and the total is 25 (and that number makes me happy because I hate even numbers = fun fact). So this means I have 25 book plot arches written down in my brain book, and now my job is to take one of those ideas and plot it out.

To be honest, I’ve never been into extensive outlines, so while I am exciting to plot ahead, I am also slightly worried. But, I am also inspired. I read this post by Amanda Hocking on her blog about how she outlines, and it seems like what I do, just kicked up a notch. (Interesting read)

My normal process is I scribble out everything I can think of when the idea arises (like a chick possessed, I might add). This can range from a vivid scene that sparks a loosely written narrative arch to a FULLY flushed out book outline that started with me frantically writing down several scenes (like #10 on the list). Sometimes with these ideas, I do a bubble map of events (which is how I paced my soon-to-be-released-book-of-awesomeness), but as I wrote the book, the arch really moved into something I’ll be using more for book two than book one of the series.

What I am taking from Amanda’s blog is the notion of writing out super short descriptions of what happens in each scene/chapter. I read another blog recently (wish I could find it) that said if you’re sure you’re one kind of person (plotter or pantser), change it up and do the exact opposite and see what happens. So even though I range somewhere in the middle, I figure I’ll try the scene by scene method and let you know if it works for me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? If so, why? Leave comments or emails (or how to’s for the plotters to help a semi-newb plotter out).

Now, I leave you with a song to write to, which I like for the rendition more than the song, even though the song isn’t bad, Dia Frampton’s cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” from The Voice:

*I hate lines. 


  1. KD - I do the same thing! I have about 30 'journals' with bits of dreams, songs lyrics that inspire a mood, detailed outlines and blurry plots! And I often go back to them, to check if I haven't miss any brilliant idea or anything.

    Oh, and I *hate* lines, too. So contriving:)

  2. Exactly. Paper telling me where I can write? I don't think

  3. Hi K.D.

    I saw your comment on my guest post on Teresa's Reading Corner today. Good luck with the plotting. I like your brain book idea --- better than constantly emailing myself from my Blackberry and then later transcribing the notes to a Word doc LOL.

  4. Michael, I'm horrible about losing my scraps of paper, or at least I used to be. Hope this helps! :)

  5. Saw your post on the rambles and wanted to pop over. Thanks for the link to Hocking's plotting page. I'll check it out. I've finished one book, but it was based on history and you might say that's where I got my plot. It's not quite the same as plotting out your own story, which is what I'm trying to do now. It's hard. Based on how much difficulty I had USING my historically-based outline last time and how much easier the subsequent rewrite was without using an outline, I suspect I'm more of a pantser than a plotter. But I'm not a complete pantser, either, I think. I get stuck too easily and need to know where I'm going next as a guide. So now I need to find a method that works for me.;D

  6. Victoria, it sounds like you're rocking the middle ground between plotter and pantser like I was. I thought it worked well having a overall arch/idea of what the plot is, but not knowing the specifics. I'm just trying to switch it up this time. Let me know if you come up with something awesome :)

  7. Thanks for sharing your link to this. I'm scrolling though some ofy our earlier posts on your writing process and taking notes!