Some writing advice to aspiring authors as well as how to manage your time. Here is an outlining and highlighting process that might help you with your writing. It is best to have some idea as to where your story is going to go. Most people can not just sit down and start writing. Outlines can help you when you write your first book or your first series. As you start to get more comfortable with your writing style and your flow, you can get into your own groove and rhythm. You start to learn what works best for you.
In the beginning, just a very basic outline so you have the beginning, middle and end is helpful. Then some scenes may be thrown in here and there to help you remember your ideas. By no means have every scene or act completely written out and figured out before you write. With a basic outline you can add in, create and just imagine. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Five stage outlining process:
1) a major brain storm of all the story ideas that you have in a notebook, or on the notes function in your phone or on your computer.
With those ideas written down, it is fun to play the what-if game like a) what if this happens b) what if this were to happen. The ideas can be vague in the beginning. Make sure to write them down. Ideas can be for one book or for multiple books. Any character ideas, scene ideas, chapter ideas anything that comes to mind. Write all of it down because if you don’t write it down you may not remember.
2) Try the poster board method. Take a large piece of paper or poster board, divide that poster board up by drawing two lines, then label each section chapter 1 and chapter 2 to begin. If you know the ending before you know anything else, start with chapter 3. Write down how the book is going to end or how you imagined it. Add theme or feelings you want to draw out for the reader. Ideas or characters conflict or the resolution is normally what is happening in chapter 3. Some authors like to work backwards and write down any ideas that might lead up to that you have in chapter 3, plot twists that are happening in chapter 1 or 2 that will bring you to your chapter 3 content.
3) Use index cards to write everything that you wrote down on your poster board. Write down each scene or idea and organize them a little bit more. Add a little more detail if it comes to you or if you have a new idea, write it on a new index card. Place them on the floor or on a table, and start moving them around to where you think they would fit. It will give you an idea as to how the story is going to flow. Refer to the beginning, middle and end you have already written down. This will help you get into the nitty-gritty of your book and all of the things that you want to have happen in your story. Take a picture of it before you pick up the cards. You can pin the cards on the poster board so you can see everything. Add index cards with new ideas into the story. Go ahead and write the first chapter when the whole story is really fresh in your mind.
4) Start to write and see what comes up as you write. Once you have written the first chapter you can go to your outline. Update the outline with the chapters as you go. Update chapter 1. Write chapter 2 then update your outline with the chapter 2 information. Then do it for chapter 3 and so on.
5) Update your outline immediately after writing or as soon as you can.
Use the color yellow to highlight where you last left off in your manuscript, also highlight the chapter on your outline so you can remember exactly where you were working on your document.
For things that need to be added in later you can highlight in green.
Highlight in orange when you want to check facts or for accuracy.
Highlight in pink for character or setting details that need to be fleshed out a little bit more. Pink can also be used for a new character or a new setting, region or place.
If you are having a scene or a chapter that you are having a hard time writing about or are not feeling motivated to write, highlight those areas in blue so it reminds you to circle back and either write that chapter, paragraph, or scene over.
Use the same highlighting tool in your outline so it is easier to reference when looking at the outline. You can easily go to your manuscript find the chapter and then find the highlighted area and know exactly where you left off and what you need to do next.