writing · writing update

Writing Update #5: Outlining

Hello! I have another writing update for you today!

After my last writing update (which you can read here), I fell off of the writing wagon a little bit. As I have mentioned before, I returned back to work after the lockdown in the UK lifted and allowed non-essential retail to reopen. I had begun balancing writing and work, but then work got a little hectic and I picked up some extra shifts instead of writing.

If you’ve been following along with all of my writing updates, you will be familiar with my year long plan with regards to working on and finishing my Rapunzel retelling. Last time I gave a writing update, I spoke about moving away from that year long plan to focus on the mermaid project I was working on because I got into a great groove with that project and felt it might be beneficial to continue working on that one until it was complete.

This has now, however, changed. Whilst I was taking my break from writing and at work, I felt my thoughts drifting back to the Rapunzel retelling, and thinking of new plots, characters and changes I wanted to make. So I decided to go back to my original plan and at the start of May, I returned to my Rapunzel retelling.

Initially I thought that it would only take me two weeks to read through everything and make the necessary notes. This process is taking me longer than I expected. I printed out the whole manuscript and I was making small notes in my notebook about the things I wanted to change chapter by chapter.

As I was reading through, I could feel that there were somethings that were wrong – well maybe not wrong, but it wasn’t the story that I wanted to tell. At the end of April and beginning of May, I started reading Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. This really helped me, into identifying what areas were lacking and what areas were completely missing too.

So, on the 5th May, I stopped reading through the manuscript and instead began drawing out a grid based on the Save the Cat method. I drew one for each of the perspectives and on the 10th, I finished completely outlined Act 1 for all three perspectives.

Not only has it allowed me to finely work out the details of Act 1, but it has also helped me work out the perspectives. When I first started the project, I had two perspectives. Then, once I got halfway through, I impulsively added a third. I was unsure whether I wanted to bring that third perspective forward, so it ran throughout the whole novel or not. I decided I did want to, and it was really fun working out what that perspective had been up to at the beginning of the novel.

I now have just over a week off of work, so I am hoping that I can do a bit of catchup. I want to finish at least outlining Act 2 for all perspectives. I would also like to read through some more of my manuscript – even though the plot has drastically changed since I wrote the first draft and what I am outlining now; I still think I could be inspired further by what I originally wrote and there are some scenes I would like to keep, but just adapt into the new plot.

For a moment there I was lacking inspiration and got a bit down about writing. I think I, like many other writers, go through phases where I think ‘what’s the point?’, ‘is this worth it?’ and ‘this all sucks, no one will ever want to read it’. The time away from writing helped me focus a little bit and if all I can think about are my writing projects, there must be something worthwhile there, right?

Hopefully, I can get back on top of blogging again – though that seems to be the theme for this year so far. Let me know how your writing projects are coming along!

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