Outlining...yes, that organizational craziness that forces you to look like the poor cat above. Yep, that's what I'm talking about today. After reading a fellow blogger’s post regarding plotters vs. pansters, I began to research various outlining methods. The snowflake method is a very common approach that involves starting with a summary sentence (a.k.a pitch) then expanding out.
Some claim this hinders creativity, while supporters feel it keeps them on track. I've decided to use elements of the approach (click here). I like the pitch sentence to begin with. This took me quite awhile, but in developing my pitch sentence for Twisted Root I found that it helps to think in broad terms. A+B=C But the more interesting element of this model is the disaster moments in the story. You know, those moments where you become the evilest writer on the planet and your characters are tortured.
The Snowflake method suggests that you have 3 disasters (more with sub-plots) and an ending, each occupying 1/4 of your MS. Well what I found interesting is that this method suggests that the best disasters are those caused by the protagonist attempting to "fix" things and instead makes things worse.
I have never considered the protag causing the disasters. In my first book most of the disasters were external elements thrown at my protag. In developing Twisted Root I've decided to give this approach a shot and interestingly enough I feel it makes the reader even more sympathetic to the protag.
So this is what I'm looking at:
Beginning of book: Inciting Incident (Ch. 1 in TR)
By chapter 10: 1st major disaster
By chapter 20: 2nd major disaster (Climax of the story, things are boiling up)
By chapter 30: 3rd major disaster (Absolute hopelessness)
Ending of book
I've written out each disaster, and so far I am really loving this method. I am not using it to its fullest—I'm still a pantster at heart. But I do feel that my story arc is already set, each character arc is already set, and I'm guaranteed to have a solid plot by following this method, albeit loosely.
I'll let you know how things go! Now, how about you? Do you outline? Do you use the Snowflake method or another method? And by all means, if you've got a genius method spill it! I can use all the help I can get. :)