My Shot at Outlining as I start Paralyser: a Bill Roberts Novel

I officially started on the next book in the Bill Roberts series this past week. At the 6000 word mark and very excited to see where it is taking me. The preliminary title so far is Paralyser. Between getting caught up on accounting for tax time, a few run-throughs of Going Under, and working on cover ideas, I haven’t written anything new in about a month. It feels really good to be back at it.

I am trying something new for this book — outlining. I usually go where the book takes me and if I have a rush of ideas, I’ll list a few points for upcoming chapters but I have read a lot lately on how outlining can increase the writing speed. I didn’t want to start this book until I had dealt with the housekeeping issues above, so when I had a few free minutes, I’d work on the outline. I laid down points for 29 chapters and I must say it was sort of fun. It got me thinking ahead of time of how it will all piece together. As well, I was able to look at where the big plot points points were.

One of my concerns of outlining was that it would take away some of the enjoyment of the writing process. My favourite part of writing is seeing where the story takes me. I go to bed at night thinking about what’s happening in the story and often come up with ideas as I’m drifting off. It is much like when you are in the middle of reading a great book and can’t wait to see what happens next. I didn’t want to lose this from the writing process with outlining.

What I have found so far, six chapters in, is that I have been sticking roughly to the outline, but am still having a lot of fun with add-ins, changing plot details and creating the dialog. There have been a couple points that I had put in the outline, but decided to leave out because I didn’t feel they fit at that point and I have been bolding them to add in somewhere else.

So far, I have been pleased with the outlining process. I must give a big thanks to Alexandra Sokoloff at screenwritingtricks.com at and K.M. Weiland at helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com for their posts on story structure and plotting.

What is your preferred writing style — are you an outliner or do you just see where it takes you?

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