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.

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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