Chapter Summaries/Outlines and why they work for me.

It’s been several days since I posted anything, not so much because of the job but because I’ve been focusing any free time I got on my new – and yet still untitled – project.  In addition, I learned something new about myself and what speeds up the process – without sacrificing quality – of writing a novel!

The old me would have spent a week just working on the first chapter, and that’s with sufficient free time to spend on it.  However, what I’ve realized is that when it comes to fictional writing, at least 80% of your time is focused on being creative by kick-starting your imagination into overdrive.  And then on top of that, you got to put your thoughts to paper and make it look pretty.  For me, this is very time consuming.  Sure, I get to write out my official draft in addition to coming up with the plot-line for each chapter all in the same breath, but I feel as if I’m working harder for it.

So with that in mind, can you believe that I figured out the first EIGHT chapters of my novel already within two weeks?!  In addition, out of those two weeks I actually completed five chapters in two days!  So this is what I did and still am doing…

After I figured out the general plot of my story summarizing it from beginning to end, I will write it down then begin breaking it down and getting more detailed on which chapter will cover what part of that plot.  So then I’ll start with chapter one and write out the overall plot from beginning to the end of what takes place in that chapter.  It isn’t made to be pretty or even be grammatically correct, it’s just simple, to the point, and brings out key events that are important for the readers to see in that chapter.  This then focuses my time and energy on the plot itself and the creativity I can utilize than worrying about how it will sound when the reader dives into it.

Once I’ve completed every chapter for my novel with these plot summaries (or outlines as I sometimes call them) and being sure they fit in each piece of the overall story, I can then start from the beginning using the summary as a guide, and write out the plot in elaborate wording that will be what I want published.  Now that I don’t have to worry about being creative in what happens next in the story, I can just focus on making it look ‘pretty’ on paper since I already wrote out what happens next!  Of course, some creativity will be required in the wording process and in details of the story you wouldn’t waste your time on with the summary, but your brain won’t feel so overloaded trying to juggle two tasks at once as you write.  At least mine doesn’t!

So there you have it!  Feel free to share what helps you or ask any questions you may have.  Don’t make too much fun of me if this is basic writing 101 that I should have already known *laughs*  I’m still learning!

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