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Here you will find information, musings, and pictures about life, the natural world and writing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Agony of Outlining

I'm shoveling gravel into plot holes and it's heavy work. I am thrilled that Did Not Survive, the second of the Iris Oakley zoo-dunnits, is due out from Poisoned Pen Press in August 2010. Did Not Survive is in production and that means it's time to start outlining #3. I'm bi-polaring between the delight of having a second mystery accepted and the pain of making my brain work. Each book is born from an outline, so all my writer's block happens at the front end. Writing is the reward for outlining, as I see it.

Why go to the trouble of figuring it all out in advance? Because I write myself into corners otherwise. I know I'll get better ideas as I write and, with an outline, I can more easily see where to go back and adjust for the brainwave.

The "outline" is really a chart of brief scene descriptions--the key elements with notes about what day it is, why the scene is necessary, and so on.

Here's a photo of cedar waxwings that my husband took recently. I'm using it as therapy for my sore cortex. Aren't they perfect beautiful beings? Maybe tomorrow a flock of ideas will light on my head and carry my plot to new heights!

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