Writerly Post Wednesday: How I’m Outlining My Next Novel

Hi, all! About a year ago, I blogged about why I don’t outline. This, to some extent, is still true. Only now I will write out vague plot ideas, titles, character names, and things that will prevent me from finishing that first draft as quickly as I can. (Don’t get me wrong — I love first drafts, but their imperfections make me cringe.) So here is how I’ve been outlining for my next mystery/thriller novel.

I’m not exactly sure when I’ll write this one, but hopefully I’ll have the first draft done by the end of the year.

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How I feel when I figure out something important when outlining my novel.

After I finished writing The Sweetest Sorrows of Ava Hale, I automatically knew I wanted to write another mystery/thriller. I loved the mystery, the questions, the clues that lead the protagonist to the murderer. But first? I needed to gather the threads of inspiration that have been floating, disjointed, in my head for quite some time, and stitch them together so they made some sort of semblance in my head.

As I always to before (yes, before) I even begin to write the novel, I find a title for it. (Sometimes the novel will go through several title changes before I settled on one that I’m completely happy with, but I like to have a stable title before I write it.)

When I was brainstorming for titles, I knew I wanted the word dark in it. Possibly because it sums up the whole novel. I also knew I wanted the word infinity, or infinities, which has a direct relevance to the novel towards the middle/end (or so I’ve planned). So I came up with the following titles, which I eventually narrowed down to one.

The Dark Infinity.

The Darkest Infinities.

Her Darkest Infinity.

I only actually came up with three — probably because I knew what I wanted in the title.

I eventually chose the last. It had a nice ring to it.

Then I began to think of the characters; I like a main character who is a female (I find them easier to write), and I wanted her to be different from Ava — my protagonist in The Sweetest Sorrows of Ava Hale. She was shy and damaged, relatively withdrawn from her peers. I wanted this protagonist to be deeper, darker, someone whose mind I couldn’t wait to explore. My next step was choosing a name. I’ve wanted to use the name Dominique Parker for awhile — and, well, when I came up with the general idea for Her Darkest Infinity, it just seemed to fit her. And from her, other characters and their personalities began to develop — James, Wren, and my main characters psychiatrist, Alicia.

From here on out, I delved slightly deeper into what the story was actually about. Why was I telling Dominique’s story? What was so important about it? My main inspiration, so far, for the story has been the Florence and Machine version of The Girl With One Eye. A great song with a slightly creepy undertone that I really want to capture in the story.

I’ve had this idea in my mind for awhile — and the other day I decided that I was going to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I think it would be a great way to motivate me to write the novel quickly and effectively. Anyone else planning to take part in the July session of Camp NaNowWriMo?

So far that’s all I’ve gotten with my plot (minus the spoilery things) and I’m hoping that the rest will fall into place when I’m writing the novel.

That is how I’ve been outlining. What’s your technique like? Let me know in the comments below!

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5 thoughts on “Writerly Post Wednesday: How I’m Outlining My Next Novel

  1. That’s an interesting technique (and your title reminds me of “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” by Leslye Walton XD). I don’t really have a hard and fast method either. ;) Mostly I just wing it. I like to write down like a blurb before I start and maybe I’ll write a few pages of where I’m going. But mostly first drafts are just me spewing words on the page. >_< I hate how messy my first drafts are, but it's all I can handle! I've TRIED outlining really thoroughly. Once I wrote a 10K outline…I mean. What.
    XD

  2. My process is widely different and kinda hectic. I tried the winging it thing for November NaNo and my first draft was such a mess compared to my usual first draft that I decided to never do that again. I usually let the idea sink in and grow slowly in my mind for a while,and then I spend a few days.weeks developing the plot and then I work with my brother for a few hours discussing everything and he helps me figure out the actual order for things and when it goes too far or when it’s completely lame and then finally I start the first draft. Also I have a real hard time with titles and they come whenever I happen to think of a cool title, I don’t sweat it but one thing I do work on endlessly right away is character names some I know right off the bat and some take me forever because nothing sounds right. Okay time to end this extremely long comment. But by the way I just found your blog, am a new bloglovin follower and my “name” is Nobody. I’m actually thinking of doing Camp NaNo in June it will be my first camp session and second time doing NaNo. =)

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