Thursday, November 19, 2009


There's lots of ways to outline and different ways work for different people. Some find outlining doesn't work for them at all, others have a fluctuating outline.

I have found I need some type of framework to keep me focused when I write. Especially since I've started fast drafting and I don't have as much time to figure out what I last wrote and think what's supposed to come next. Those of you who are working moms know that time is almost as precious as chocolate.

How it works:
I break my story into 20 grids on a big piece of butcher paper like in the picture. Each grid represents a chapter. Now, this isn't set in stone, but it makes me think what's going to happen first and most importantly how it will all work out in the end.

I number each grid 1-20 in black marker. Then I give each chapter a header like this:
1. MC is in ordinary world. Extraordinary thing happens.
2. MC called to adventure- denies the call
3. MC meets mentor and can no longer deny the call

On the bottom of the grid I write Setting:_______. This keeps my characters from hanging out in the school cafeteria chapter after chapter. I find setting such a great writing tool, so I like to vary it and think of places I've not seen in other books.

Then in the big chunk of space provided, I insert sticky notes. They are color coordinated like this:
Green- main plot
Pink- romantic subplot
Yellow- secondary subplot (for me it's a family situation)
Blue- my antagonist (he's got his own evil agenda going on)

I write what happens during the chapter for each of these onto the papers and stick them into place. I like the sticky notes because they come on and off easily since changes do happen as I write. They also give me a quick visual where the subplots are showing up.

And that's it! This outline works for me because it keeps me from rambling off on some wild tangent (as I like to do), it forces me to think of the story as a whole, it's easy to change, and it's a great visual for what's happening in my story.

Do you outline? If you do, what tips do you have to share?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writer's Shopping List

A while back, I blogged about getting your idea. So now that you've got the idea, the next step is to daydream some more. Love it. I mean, what profession tells you to stare off into space and let your mind wander? Seriously.

Next is shopping!

Here's my writer's shopping list:

1. Very cool journal- big enough to jot all my notes and ideas into for this book. I like to splurge on this one. For my current WIP, I'm using a journal I bought at the gift shop of a French castle. It's got this cool medieval hard cover. Very inspirational.
2. Big piece of butcher paper- I get this from school
3. Colored sticky notes- blue, pink, yellow and purple (you can choose any ones you like)
4. Pens and pencils- they must be the fun kind. I got a heart and a star one.
5. Music- I go to I-tunes. Since my current WIP is set in Asia, I bought a bunch of Asian tunes for my i-pod.
6. Treats- dark chocolate (of course!) and coffee (must be caffeinated for me!)
7. Magazines- I get the old ones from the library that they are giving away

Next time, I'll go into detail on what I do with all this stuff.

So, how about you? What's on your writer's shopping list?

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Do Teens What?

First of all, Happy NaNoWrite to all those participating! I'll be cheering you on! Here's chocolate to inspire you.

I've decided to write 1,000 words a day this month, getting me to 30,000 words. I hope to finish the book in January and do rewrites in the spring. Don't you love new projects?


I wanted to share some more fun stuff that I got from Publisher's Marketplace with you. It's interesting and I think as writers, we need to become experts in our field, and that includes knowing what kids like and are reading. I choose the pictures because I tend to be visual. But for more goodies, go to the link.

Check out these charts: (click on them to enlarge)
What Kids Like To Read

Networking. Facebook was huge. Here's what they want from your facebook page.

What Motivates Kids to Buy:

What Influences Kids?

Chocolate photo by: Cristian andrei Matei