NaNo 2015: The Outline

Some of you may know that I am a Super-Outliner. I don’t ‘pants’ anything when it comes to writing. I fill up every inch of our white board several times.

Each time I outline, I do it a little different, being guided by revelations I’ve had about plotting. I love a story that builds well and develops characters in an interesting way, something I worked on a lot in THE VARKEN. For THE BLESSED, my outlining developed even further, but I started the process the same way I always do.

Three Act Structure. I love it.

With THE BLESSED I had a vague idea of where things started and where things ended. The beginning of Act I and the end of Act III. Because of how the conflict is sparked, I knew where Act I would end, but that left Act II and III largely ambiguous.

So I put on my thinking cap. “How am I going to get to that big finish? What makes sense?”

At this point, I began to really work on my characters. In THE BLESSED I tackle more characters that I have in either of my previous novels, desiring to balance individually and development for each in the narrative. This resulted in 44 character sketches for the key players in the story and their supporters. Although not all of these characters are fleshed out as the main characters, that still leaves roughly 4 main characters/points of view with a total of about 20 secondary characters.

Knowing so many characters so well really helped me to develop the second and third Acts. I was able to discern what each character would do in a given situation and progress the plot thusly. As I previously mentioned in Relationships: Building Blocks, developing the characters involved investigating their relationships as well, which lead to many a plot epiphany.


Once I had the general outline in place, I went through each act and created Signposts. These little flags mark important events in each act.

Finally, I can take that and figure out the scenes and how they fit in.

I will admit, I don’t have all out my scenes planned out already. I do leave a little bit of room for inspiration to strike and the story to change. But I will planned out the scenes between each Signpost when I get there. This gives me an idea of where I’m going and how the pacing will be.

And so, I am fully prepared for NaNo 2015! I’ve been working on getting my words per minute back up so once my show – Through the Looking Glass  – closes and I have more free time once again, I will be able to launch back into writing and editing.

I plan on having THE VARKEN finished with the first round of edits by November 1st and THE BLESSED finished by the end of Novemeber, leaping over the 50k towards 130k.

What are your goals for NaNoWriMo 2015? Are you a planster or a panster?

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I have to admit that I don’t plan very much for NaNoWriMo, but it’s only my second time participating so maybe it will change with time. I usually just have a rough idea of what I want to write about, but a very clear picture of my main characters. I’ve actually posted a character profile of my MC just the other day to see what people thought of him.
    In the end, I guess I like knowing some stuff, but I need the freedom to just make it up most of the time. But I like the way you work and as long as it works for you, that is just great!


    1. epauthor says:

      I’m always mesmerized by people who can think on a fly! When I don’t plan in detail, I tend to write ‘thinly’ (this big thing. next big thing. final big thing. who knew this story could be written in 5,000 words?!).
      Good luck next month! I’m gonna go read up on your character now and maybe write my own as well! Great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I think my stories definitely need a lot more rewriting than others after NaNoWriMo because of it. Last year it was a lot about reaching 50,000 words and not about the quality of the story. However, I am okay with going over it a couple of times. In the end I tend to be pretty pedantic about my stories.
        Thank you! I wish you all the best for your writing as well! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a planster 🙂 I’ve planned a lot, but I have a feeling that I may have to do some more research on structure. Funny thing is that I just wrote about about being ready to dive into my novel next week, than I read this and now I feel a little sick. I’ve never done something like this before. I’ve had many stories and characters in mind, but I’ve never committed to bringing them to life before. I think I’ll be using the next week to look at the Three Act Structure, just so I don’t dive into this pool without a life-jacket.
    I’ll be taking my notebook to soak up all the tips I can from fellow WriMo’s at tomorrow’s kick-off party in my region.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. epauthor says:

      A great resource that helped me a lot the first time I really dove into outlining is Although it is only one method to outlining, it can give you a lot of ideas for fleshing out your story! Pinterest is also a great resource for character development! Good luck in November and have fun!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! I will check that out! 🙂


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