A Novel Idea: A Written View


Let’s break some rules and boast about it. Sure, you have a few ideas in mind and want to know which would be the best way to start. Let’s explore how to go forward with them.

The first thing to do is list out your ideas. Make sure each one is kept separate on paper or an Excel document (I’m a digital guy, so Excel is my go to). This will allow you to keep track of what you are looking at writing. It will also allow us to move forward in picking the story you want to do. The only issue is if you’re writing an Atomic Bomb size story, this will not work (more on those later).
Your list is the starting point or record of what keeps you going as a writer. One of the greatest things about it is you can grow or shrink the list as your career takes off. It is the starting point. The leaping off of the world type of thing.
Working the List
If you use Excel, make each idea a separate workbook (tab at the bottom) in order to not mix them up. Using paper you would just use a sheet for each. Take your time and space it out the way you want to. Your “Big Idea” is just the start. List out a few things about the work you will need to know like characters, settings, and basic plot. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just enough to get the idea across.
Once you have all the big scope ideas laid out, start to go over them and decide which one tugs at your heart or mind the most. If things start to pop us, then you have the one to attack first. In this way you can jump right in with an outline.
I can see the pansters averting their eyes here. That’s okay; the people reading this actually want a story that follows a flow.
There are a number of techniques for outlining a novel. Some work for me, while others blow me away with their complexity. I’ve tried a number of them and different software. It keeps coming back to Excel and putting things together that way. I have things laid out differently than most. If you want an Excel Novel Outlining template, you can search for one or go to a writers’ group website for more.
As a side note, there are a few sites that offer you access to writing help. I’ll try to list a few of them at the end of the article series with my thoughts on them.
If you’re a panster, one thing you may want to put down is the climax you’re working toward. This allows you to have a goal in sight. It puts you in a certain frame of mind in order to not lose that end product. I’m not saying outline, just have your target in mind and work toward it for a cohesive end product....

Read the entire article in the Dec/Jan 2019-20 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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