Phase Outlines FTW(For the win)!

So I’ve probably mentioned phase outlines here before but if I haven’t they are basically a super detailed run through of your novel that can amount to many thousands of words being written before you ever start “writing”.  I’ve used them in the past and loved them, so on when a recent project needed a new, in depth outline, I knew that a phase outline would be the way to go.

To give you a little background, I started a draft of a book I knew nothing about in June of 2012. I wrote the first 32k in one week. And then I didn’t touch it. For months and months, until I’d almost forgotten about it. And then in February I started writing on it again. I added another 30k to the stories first draft and declared it good in March. I thought I was happy with it. I’d reread the first 32k and I felt comfortable with where I’d take then story. So I set it aside for the rest of March and then April while I worked on Camp Nanowrimo (which was a blast by the way and is occurring again, RIGHT NOW!)

Ahem… So in May I pick this story back up with the intention of giving a quick once over and sending it on its way… but oh what a foolish dream. I’d still been wearing my rose tinted glasses when I’d read it over in February. You know the ones we all pull out when we write a first draft and don’t judge or nitpick because we’d never get anywhere. Yes, well those came off in May and boy did I have a lot of work in front of me. I started editing and I realized there were some big plot holes. More than that, my characters where great by themselves, but every time I put them together, it seemed forced and well, stupid. So I made some note cards, revised on sticky notes, and worked on getting my plot ironed out.

This is where the phase outline comes in. As I started outlining/fixing major plot points I realized that the first half of the book was going to be almost entirely rewritten. I had made two characters switch their roles in relation to my heroine, and decided to weave in 5 subplots that had all been created and then promptly forgotten at one point or another during the first draft. And that was only the first half of the book. The second had just as many changes, but they were nuances and continuity and plot hole fixing and explaining away. I had an out of control potentially hazardous book on my hands and no way to tame it.

Enter the phase outline. I love phase outlines, because they allow you to simultaneously work and rework your plots/subplots while including things like setting info, dialogue and thoughts. Everything And the kitchen sink is welcome.

I’ve been working on my outline for about a month now in between shifts at my new job, family time, reading and goofing off and about an hour ago I finally finished it. How’d it go? Well.

It’s 26 pages long and 14,561 words long. It’s a pretty boss outline if I do say so myself. I’m super pleased and tomorrow I get to start really cutting into the meat of writing. Wish my luck. I’ll let you know how the outline helps me with my new draft. ^__^

Happy Scribbling folks. And if you’re interested in trying a new method of outlining. If you’d like to read about them Go HERE! Bye everyone!