Apr. 21 Writing Prompt

Let’s keep moving forward in our Ideas Week writing prompts.

We have already started a new idea, learned if it is a good idea and figured out if that idea was good enough for a full length novel.

Today we will continue on, looking at the process to take our idea on to a rough draft.

When we think about starting a novel or screenplay, the rough draft is where most of us spend our time thinking and plotting. However, it is the idea stage that starts the process. Without this stage, you have a lot of blank pages.

You need to spend a little more time thinking about the writing process that takes place before the rough draft.

There are two main paths from idea to rough draft and it all depends on your writing style. Some people like to just put pen to paper and go. Others like a more planned approach. Whether you are a planner or pantser, your path to a rough draft can take weeks or even months.

No matter your path, you always start in the same place; the daunting blank page. And now that you have an idea, proven its value and know the basic story behind it, it is time to continue forward.

April 21

Using your questions and answers sheet along with the chapter layout pages, write out a simple and complete outline for the entire story.

Along with proper and thorough research, a good outline will give you all the information you need for your story.

That is not what we are after here today.

Keep this outline simple
Simple outlines can still give you enough details to know what you are about to write.

The purpose of Ideas Week is to get you from having a new, raw idea to a rough draft without wasting time. This waste includes your writing time itself, wasting ideas and of course, wasting time writing on an idea that won’t pan out.

For today’s exercise, you should focus on the broad strokes of your outline. If you are a pantser, this will be a bit easier. A short, yet complete, outline should only include a couple of sentences from each chapter.

For the planners out there, you have a knack of writing outlines that encompass the entire chapter, with chapters in your outline often being 500 to 1000 words each. However, since we are attempting to get the story going and prove it is worth spending time on, this isn’t needed.

Remember, you can always come back and fill in the outline with all the required and necessary details once you have proven your story is worth writing.

You Don’t Need Much

You don’t need to name characters (though you can). Also, you don’t need to plot out every side plot, character arc or even scene. A simple expansion of your chapter details will be enough.

If you can make each chapter exciting, have some stakes, or push the story forward, you are golden.

For difficult chapters, you may need to think more, change your plans a bit, or even delete it completely.

Work on this bare-bones outline until all of your chapters are filled in. Read it over to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Then, evaluate if what you do have is good enough and long enough to make a compelling novel.

When you are done, come back and post in the comment section if this has helped you at all. Also, post if you have any questions, concerns or issues with your outline.

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