How will it end?

I don’t know!

A novelist friend of mine recently asked me whether I outline my novels before I write them. I said yes. I use a scene table to plan the chapters, creating a table with the headings: Ch (chapter), P (page it starts on), Scene (location), Action (description of what takes place—plot), Conflict (between whom), Threat (against protagonist), pp (number of pages in the chapter). The table evolves. I try to outline the entire work, but I’m not always sure how it will end, and the table is a working document that is constantly evolving. I add and delete rows, and move them around. If I have more than one plot line, I add more Action columns. I bring out the nature of my characters through their actions. I am constantly switching back and forth between my manuscript and my scene table to see where I am and where I’m going.

The scene table is not the only way to go. Once, at Capital Book Festival in Largo, Maryland, I spoke with best-selling author Connie Briscoe who said she puts each scene on a 4X6 index card so she can spread them out on a table, see them all, and change their order. She outlines her books completely before beginning to write.

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This entry was posted in Relating to Cologne No. 10 for Men, Relating to Well Considered, the novel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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