Monday, October 8, 2012

The NaNoWriMo Outline that Ate My Wall


Above, the collection of sticky notes that has invaded the northeast corner of my study in preparation for this year's National Novel Writing Month

Each sticky note represents a scene from my novel JIHAD COMIX. The pink ones (three are visible here, two are obscured) reflect the END OF THE BEGINNING, the RECOMMITMENT MOMENT, the CRISIS, the CLIMAX, and the RESOLUTION, five high-energy plot markers that lie at the core of Martha Alderson's The Plot Whisperer, which is my favorite book on plotting.

It has become part of my daily routine now to add, subtract, and reorganize these sticky notes from my wall. (Truth be told, there are more on the wall now than there were when I took this photo, which means only that I have some crap to get rid of.) 

In the shot above, I have placed mostly yellow stickies that identify scenes driven by my protagonist. In recent days, I've added maroon stickies that reflect scenes driven by an antagonist.

So far, so good. I have mapped out, in very broad strokes, the book's first 21 scenes (my first act) and have begun the work of setting up the next 45-50 scenes (my second act). The visual and tactile elements of this kind of outlining make it much more likely that I will actually do something on it every day.

Counting down to November 1!