I have been working on the outline and character sketches for my book for several weeks. It’s been such an insightful and exciting experience to watch a simple idea for a book turn into a complete and interesting (at least I like to think so) story.
And so this last week, it came time for me to make the big leap and write the first sentence (and first chapter for that matter.) And in all honesty it was a tougher leap to make than I had originally planned on.
But I have found doing the outlining exercises and revisions before starting the actual novel writing to be most helpful. As I write I am using what I’ve typed up for my outline to help guide me chapter by chapter and keep me on track. Granted, I know there will be times ahead when I’ll feel inspired or pulled to write another chapter or portion of the book. But that outline is helping me keep my pace as I get started putting the story down on paper.
I also fully expect my writing process to continually evolve, especially as I start to get feedback and critiques of my writing. At some point I may not need to be as dependent on that outline to guide the story along. And in just a few weeks I’ll be participating in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and I couldn’t be more excited. [Side note: This is my first time participating, ironically enough because the first year I signed up a portion of the Festival was cancelled due to the infamous flood (making a villainous appearance in “Evelyn’s Drawings Can’t Swim”!)] Participating in workshops such as the ISWF and taking advantage of other critiquing opportunities is a sure fire way of strengthening my writing. So bring it on, I say!
I’m sure I’ll be talking more about the novel writing process in weeks ahead (that’s kind of the point here) but for now, I’d better get back to my book. At least my outline will remind me where I left off.