While I consider myself more a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants) than a plotter (a writer who plots the whole story before she writes), as I’ve grown as an author, I’ve learned to mix the two where I need it most. Basically, I do a bare-bones outline, very rough, that is all over the place at first, but evolves into a real, working plot-skeleton for my book. I hit beginning, middle and end points (usually I know the ending first and work my way backwards–don’t judge!), then fill in as I go. That’s where the writing-by-the-seat-of-my-yoga-pants comes in. For me, it’s important that my characters surprise me. Otherwise, writing feels more like work than fun. And who wants that??
No offense to you hardcore plotters. I love you, too, and am admittedly jealous of your dedication.
That said, I’ve created a couple of worksheets for you pantser/plotters out there who want to be both surprised AND have a little direction. Basically, we want all the things. Right?
REMEMBER: Outlines and worksheets are never meant to be set in stone. They’re based on opinion and what works for other writers. So, feel free to change and hone as your characters grow and move through your plot. These tools are for you and your process. Always remember to stay true to who you are. Cheers!
Download Alyssia’s Character Worksheet HERE.
As for the outline, download this AFTER you’ve done a complete BRAIN DUMP. That means you’ve gotten onto paper ALL your ideas for scenes, plot points, characters, dialogue steeped in awesome-sauce, etc. and now you’re looking at it, saying, “What is thiiiiiiiis?!?!” Use the guide to wrangle and arrange all your ideas into one smooth, chapter-by-chapter outline for your book.
By the way, it’s okay when you sway from the outline.
No, really. Let’s say it together, “I know I won’t stick to the outline and I’m okay with that!”
Phew! I’m glad we did that, because YES! Your outline can be changed! The one I use is based on a 35-chapter book, broken up into three acts. Again, this is only what works for me and is not meant to be the end-all-be-all of outlines. The outline may be used in any way that fits your individual writing style.
Download Alyssia’s Outline (Schmoutline!) Worksheet HERE.