Monday, November 29, 2010

Revisions Week - Outlining & Plans

This is Revisions week. (I apologize for hoarding these post for 3 weeks now!)

Revisions.

Why not share with you how I revise.

Then we can compare! Hehe... I love comparing, no writer is alike!

After I write my novel I let it sit. About a month, any less and my mind is still to invested. I re-read what has been written and then I start my outline.

That's write people, my outline happens AFTER I've written the novel. I find that if I write it before all is lost and I can never finish the draft. Superstitions have gotten the best of me.

Here are pictures of my process:

This is my first step. My whiteboard. My very first experiment when I began blogging (Writings on the wall) and since then it's become one of my favorite things. I set up the basics, my favorite parts, and a few chapters to get me started.



This is what happens after the whiteboard... my outline. Notebooks and notebooks filled with important character questions, chapters, and an overall view of my novel.




Plans.

Everyone has them.

For my alternate worlds I create floorplans, find the perfect photos for inspiration, the letters my character writes to each of the people who touch her life.



Click for a better view. I never push hard enough when it comes to my floorplans, I even tried to make the font darker, lol. As you can see I'm not gifted in that respect.









Here is the Traveler's house and the greenhouse. To very important parts of the story.




Does your story come with a road map? Are you a big Outliner? Before or After writing the novel?

Wednesday: Talli Roland's BLOGSPLASH!
Friday: Character Collages and more!

46 comments:

Lo said...

I love seeing other writer's processes! Thanks for sharing. I painted a giant blackboard on the wall, which substitutes as my whiteboard, because I couldn't find a big enough one :-) I tend to outline as I go along. I'll write a few chapters, then think, ok...what could happen next? And write down some possibilities. I also have to let my story sit for at least a month, or I am just not open to the idea of dramatic changes!

Liz said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing your process. I'm an outliner now, but I definitely gotta get a good system going. Right now I just do chapter-by-chapter outlines before writing. I'd like to explore more methods to augment my planning process.

Jessica Bell said...

I write very detailed outlines and I find I lose the excitement of telling the story because I feel like I've already told it. I might try to keep it really basic for my next project and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing! :o)

Michelle said...

You're like me, I love outlining and planning everything. It makes my life so much easier to get everything down and out of my head.

salarsenッ said...

Very thorough, Jen. Nice. I tend to splat it all on paper until I'm practically dry, then I start to outline and visualize others possible roads to take the characters down. I use a storyboard with notes and cutouts, and of course my coveted index cards. Don't leave home without those. lol

Anne said...

I've been thinking about purchasing a whiteboard. I think you just helped seal the deal.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Funny you should mention outlining AFTER the draft is written! I just started an outline last night -- as I begin working on the THIRD draft of Caged Graves.

I was beginning to think that I had too large a lull between elements of the mystery. Yeah, I filled in with the love story, but I came to the conclusion it wasn't working.
So, I started outlining to see what was in each chapter.

How cool to know that it's part of your regular process!

Talei said...

Hi Jen,

Thanks so much for sharing your revisions tips. Have to say I'm in the middle of mine. I do outline beforehand and its really trial and error for me right now. Love your floorplans btw. ;)

Have a lovely week x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, I'd be so lost if I didn't outline before writing! Not that the plan doesn't change along the way.
I beat NaNo, but I've a few more weeks of writing before my story is done.

Jenn said...

Wow, I love seeing the results of your revision process. I love the pics of the traveler's house and greenhouse. Beautiful! I want a house like that. ;)

Meredith said...

Ok, ideas I'm stealing from you: the whiteboard and the floorplans. That would make everything so much clearer! I also need to try characters writing letters to each other and revealing how they really feel. You make revision look like so much fun! :)

LTM said...

wow. You are very organized! I don't have a plan or an outline... before I start, I try to write the whole story in like 1-2 pages--what's in my head basically. Then I do it.

Once it's "finished," I wait as long as I can stand it and then go back and start reading w/red pen in hand. Slashing, making frantic notes, etc.

I guess it works~ :o) <3

Melissa Sarno said...

I enjoying learning about the way other people revise! I usually just write by the seat of my pants until the story demands an outline. So I usually outline when I get to a certain point in the first draft. Probably the "3rd act" (I know, weird...I look at the structure of every story like a script, lol) Then, like you, I start a much more detailed outline when I get to the edit. I also put it away for a month. I feel that is necessary.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome. Love the floor plans. I don't usually outline at all, unless it's very bare bones while writing the first draft. It helps to keep me focused. But I love to use inspiration pictures. That's one of my favorite part when starting a new story.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm an outliner, but I still take detours. But fortunately with my "map" I don't get lost when I get back on the main road. ;)

Usually I don't give the ms distance until it's undergone several drafts. But I'm getting so many great books for Christmas, I might take a two week break (once I've finished my first draft) to read some of them. :)

NiaRaie said...

I create outlines before I write but I use that EXACT whiteboard and I also have characters write letters to other characters sometimes, to see how they stand with each other.

Jai Joshi said...

Cool to see your revision method. I make a list of all the things I have to do in the revision, whether it's working on characters, plot reworking, cutting words, expanding sections, filling in plot holes. Then I go through the list one and by and eliminate each item. Then I give the manuscript to beta readers and see what they have to say, and if their suggestions make sense to me then I rework according to their thoughts.

Oh yes, and I always outline. I'd never work without an outline.

Jai

Teenage Bride said...

Happy Monday Jen!!!!!

Letting it sit is my favoritte part lol... I enjoy the break

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing your method. It's very interesting. I do a rough outline before I start and I do character development sheets as well. Then I have a five stage editing process. I don't let it sit. It's sitting time for me is when my betas are reading it.

Colene Murphy said...

That's so neat! You seem very organized. I like it! You should totally teach me how. Not Organized. At. All.

Laura Pauling said...

I do both! I outline before and after because only after can I see if a scene is worth keeping or needs to be combined or has enough conflict that is in line with the story goal! Good luck revising!

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Wow, I love how different everyone is.

It's funny...I do a lot of brainstorming and planning before I dive into a draft. But when I revise I'm more about instinct. Gut feelings about where things totally aren't right. I fix as much as I can, then send to CPs and let them rip into me and tell me what's what.

Your method is MUCH more organized. Go you! ;)

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss jen! it cool how you could do a outline after. i didnt ever think about outlining stuff til i learned about in on blogs. now i do some but it mostly when i get stuck and then i do a outling for the next couple parts and it helps lots.
...hugs from lenny

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I do some of those things including finding pictures in magazines reminding me of something in my books.
I've never done floor plans but I do rough maps.
Thanks for sharing this. It's always interesting to read about other author's process.

The Golden Eagle said...

I have an outline, but I try to elaborate on it as little as possible. I like having freedom to change and move things around easily while I'm writing the first draft.

Donea Lee said...

I'm finding more and more that i'm horribly disorganized...and a little inconsistent in my revision and writing practices...you've got some excellent processes here! I've read about so many great ones, I need to try out! Thanks for sharing!! :)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I don't have huge outlines, but I know the beginning, middle and end of the book. I do sketch out scenes and chapters as I write though. I like having things suprise me as I write. :)

Melissa said...

You already know I love your process. I want to do a giant timeline for my THOUSANDS of years of history and make giant family trees and stuff for my characters. Maybe I'll do that when I've given my novel to you and my other CP's because I'll need something to fill my time and stop me from hyper-ventilating.

The greenhouse and Traveller home are gorgeous! And I'm having fun looking at your pictures.

I haven't started revising yet so I don't know my process as of now.... odd isn't it?

Kristin Rae said...

not so much of an outliner here--i'd spend more time doing that than actually writing! lol. but i like the floorplan idea. helps to see it so you know exactly how to fit in your descriptions.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Good lord that's thorough! LOL

Gee, I would be embarrassed to show my outlines. They're usually typed with tons of handwritten notes on them. But at least I can decipher them. :)

Jessica Lindsay said...

Hello! New to your blog--so glad you could visit mine! :)

This post is a treat. How fun to reflect on how I write as I look at your process.

What do I do? A little of everything, still. I've finished one novel and am working on a second. The first I wrote and then outlined, and the second I've outlined first.

This time around, I was inspired by Peter Jackson and the making of the LOTR movies. He storyboarded every shot! Totally amazing! I'm trying that out right now, and I'm liking the feel. But who knows what will happen, right? ;)

So fun to be writing with you . . .

Kimberly Franklin said...

HI! It feels like it's been forever since I've commented. How are you? I love the pictures of your planning. Makes me want to jump back into writing and revising and all of that fun stuff. And that greenhouse picture is too cute! I love it! Hope your holiday was great!

Madeleine said...

Wow that is detailed. I am impressed! I have just found http://scribbleandedit.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-kind-of-writer-are-you.html and am learning that I am a character-emotional driven writer who needs to plot the dramatic action, so I am now ging back to the planning stage and the writing has taken a back seat for the moment. :O)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, I love posts like this! I am a pantser extraordinaire, so I can truly benefit from you more organized folk. I am bookmarking! :-)

melissa said...

Wow! I could never do this much planning after a draft. If I don't have everything carefully outlined before I start my work is such a mess. I'm currently revising draft three of my Nano '09 project and it's still a disaster. This year I outlined ahead of time and I think it went much smoother.

Lisa said...

Very nice!

I tend to revise as I write, so by the time I'm finished I've already gone back over certain sections eight or nine times. This means I am super slow and if I find I problem late in the book it is a pain to fix.

I like your visual devices. I tried mapping out a timeline of everything that happened in my book to make sure it was consisitent once and that really helped. I'm going to have to go with some of these other tricks though!

Jennie Bailey said...

I love seeing how other writer's work through things!! I've gotten quite a few fabulous ideas! I outline, and outline again and again. I come back to it A LOT while I'm writing as the story changes. I don't have a white board - I have a post it board! Oh, how I love post-its. I could marry them. Or have a serious affair. They. Are. So. Hot. I have different notebooks as well, but I'm really snobby about my notebooks. I try to correspond them to the story. For example, my story that takes place in a forest is in a recycled green notebook. Each one matches the story. All my research, scene snippets, etc. go in them. LOVE my notebooks!

Theresa Milstein said...

Look how organized you are!

I'm a panster through and through. My only form of organization comes into play when I write the synopsis.

Jemi Fraser said...

I love comparing how writers work too. I don't outline until after I do the first draft either. Outlines scare me more than a little. :)

Renae said...

I like the idea of a white board. I go back through and do a loose outline too. Thanks for sharing your process Jen, I love seeing the methods of other writers.

Shayda Bakhshi said...

Your revision process is seriously epic. And organized. And pleasing to the eye, what with the maps and pictures and color-coded dry-erase board notes.

My process is much less awesome. It goes like this:

"Hmm. This sucks. Let me throw it against the wall for a while until it's better."

It works, in its own bumbling sort of way, but I really wish it LOOKED nicer, you know?

Beth said...

traveler's house is so cute! It kind of remind me of my favorite little chapel in Arkansas.

Shannon said...

What a great method! I love how organized you are!

Abby Minard said...

That's really great, Jen. I outline sort of as I go. I'll start with a synopsis, character names, and as I write I'll add lists like names I've used, town names, country names, the name of the world etc. And then elaborate on that on notes if I need to. Then when I'm halfway through I'll create a timeline, a chart of how many days have passed, and in the case of my current WIP which chapter has which POV (I have two POV's). Then I've got various notes on what to do at the end with my climax and how I'm organizing all of my info- who knows what info when, and how they come to realize it etc. Now that I write all that down, I realize how detailed that is!

Elena Solodow said...

I'm a big outliner. You definitely go above and beyond! I usually draw all my characters with oil pastels.

fakesteph said...

I have an outline before I start with only the most necessary info (for a mystery, I'd have to know the mystery before I started and for a character piece I arc out the emotional story). Then I leave it be and go work on another project. I usually make notes on things that may need to be fixed while I write, so I read over those and any notes given to me by my readers. Then I think about structure and craft. I usually read a book (so far my favorite has been The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman) and think about my memory of the story while I read. Then, I read the whole thing through, making notes on the draft. Finally, I make the big executive decisions about structure, character, etc, before I start rewriting and get invested all over again. I like to make sure I invest in my new vision before I begin actually writing. Sometimes I use note cards on a cork board.

Thanks for sharing how you rewrite! I always freak out a little before I start so it's interesting to see another process.