Friday, October 29, 2010

Wiggle Room

MOOD STATUS: Happy! Kidlet has her school Halloween parade and class party today! (Always a fun time--even for the moms)

Good news! I finished my outline for my new work-in-progress: Kissing Kendall.

I don't know why but I always begin outlining at different points for each book that I'm writing. For this new wip, I began to outline after I had three chapters written.

My last wip (Sunny Days for Sam *currently under submission*) I didn't outline until I hit chapter seven! Weird, huh?
But that's the point where I stopped and figured out how I was going to take them to the ending and wrote an outline from chapter 7 to chapter 12. I pretty much stuck with I outlined then too.

For Georgie on His Mind, I outlined from about chapter two to the end. Only I allowed myself A LOT more wiggle room since I outlined it so much earlier.

Actually according to original outline, my hero's ex girlfriend came back to town. (Huh. That didn't happen) Also, in my original outline there was supposed to be an armed robbery at the pharmacy toward the end of the book! (Wow, that didn't happen either. Hmm... but the pharmacy did have some condoms stolen) :)

Hmm...I see a pattern with outlining early. I tend to give myself MUCH more wiggle room in the story plot. So it'll be interesting to see how much I follow from this new outline.

So why bother outling early? Well, I'm just anal enough to want some kind of map or direction in my writing--even if I don't bother following it exactly. I'm more of a visual person and I NEED to see it play out on paper in front of me. Once I'm satisfied with it, I can write and change things as the mood strikes. But it's always nice to have something to fall back on in case I get stuck.

How about you?
Do you follow your outlines perfectly or do you allow yourself a lot of WIGGLE ROOM too?


Maria Zannini said...

I work with a spare but concise outline, but I'm not married to it.

For me they're just guidelines to keep me from getting off track.

Em-Musing said...

I write like I clean, when everything gets real messy, then I clean up. I wish I could organize my brain better.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Such a good idea to have something to fall back on in case you get stuck. I often use my outlines for that.

Love. Love. Love that picture. :D
~ Wendy

Piedmont Writer said...

Like you I generally outline when I'm halfway through more or less.

It's funny -- I wrote almost half the book I'm working on now, outlined the behoosis out of it, right down to the craziest nuance, had colored cards, notes, almost 10 pages of craziness. Took me the whole weekend.

I haven't looked at it since and now I'm done with the book. I don't think the outline was supposed to help me remember so much as it helped align my thoughts for the book at the time.

Joanna St. James said...

Ha ha if I ever write an outline its to help me with the synopsis, I never look at an outline once I've written it, I just go all over and hope it works out.

Linda Kage said...

Sometimes I jot down a basic idea of where I want the story to go after I've started. But I think the characters discover what I've done and get all rebellious on me, becaseu then they go and do the exact opposite. They're so stubborn.

Linda G. said...

Outline? What's that? ;)

Actually, I'm considering (in a vague, probably-not-gonna-do-it way) outlining the final third of my current WIP. Nothing detailed -- just as a way to check out a few different what-if scenarios, and see which I like best.

C R Ward said...

I'm with Linda G. - what is this word "Outline"? :-)

The closest I've ever come to an outline is when I was revising a novel that just didn't make sense in one section, so I sat down and did a point form list of what I wanted to happen and in what order.

Laura Marcella said...

I allow myself a lot of wiggle room! I love having an outline, but sometimes stories go off in an entirely new direction that could only happen through the writing process. You can't plan everything! The most exciting things happen when it's unexpected and unplanned. :)

PatriciaW said...

Jennifer, do you find yourself going back and tweaking your outline, or once you go off course, do you ditch it and just let the story take you for a ride?

Talei said...

Oh definitely have wiggle room, in fact, even my best laid plot/structure has to give room to my muse when she's in full swing. She doesn't listen to the plot pixies too often. Sometimes things just develop. Eventually I reel her in though. ;)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I usually stick pretty closely to my outline but there is always something in every story that I end up adding in or taking out despite what my outline says.

T. Anne said...

All of your books sound so fun! I sort of outline the way you do. I need to speed into the territory a bit and check out the landscape before choosing the right road to travel.

Terri Tiffany said...

I love your titles.
I tend to outline in general and leave a lot of room for play--maybe too much!

Kimberly Franklin said...

My outlines have tons of wiggle room. And congrats on finishing your outline!!

Hope you have a fun Halloween!

Karen Lange said...

Yeah, I like outlines but I try to be flexible. Seems to work out better that way. Congrats on finishing the outline!
Karen :)

Jen Daiker said...

Who doesn't love wiggle room?!

I'm not much for an outlining I'm more of a panster (something I should work on!)

Kristi said...

Congrats on the outline!

I'm a crazy mix of pantser and outliner, depending on my mood and struggles! ;-)

Happy Halloween!

Calisa Lewis said...

Ugh! I'm such a dense! I've been trying to 'find' you and you were in my 'followers' all along! HI Jenn!

Anyway- I'm a panster. No plotting, absolutely NO outlining (that brings back very unpleasant memories of 9th grade english). When a new character speaks to me, I sit and write what he/she tells me is on their mind. The outcome never disappoints me because I never know what it will be. :)

But...on Perfect Doctor Viv, my medical surprise, I hadn't even planned to write it at all. After Flo requested the full after literally tearing the first three chapters out of me (I think she had a very dull knife!) I had to actually sit and plot to some degree. In the synopsis there's a skunk and a forest fire. HUH? Fire? I just got the idea and stuck that in there...Now I have to actually write it! She's expecting it. See why I don't plan? I never know what will come up. Good luck with your new wip!

Jessica Nelson said...

Stolen condoms sounds hilarious! I want to read Georgie soon.
Who're you subbing the other one too? Agents or publishers?
Have a good weekend!

Anonymous said...

Been a panster with not much success, so trying to work more with an outline right from the start. Not sure I could jump part way into a WIP from doing it one way to another. Sounds like it works for you though!

Susan Fields said...

I make a very detailed outline and try to stick to it - doesn't always work out that way, though. :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Jennifer, I think I'm like you. I need the backbone, but I need the flexibility too. The outline makes me feel safe enough to get going, but if I box myself in too tightly, I panic. Congrats on getting so far so soon!