Moving Forward With a Story

Almost three months ago I shared this blog post: “Free to Read” in Progress. I was super excited to share my plans. They were there and progress what guaranteed. Although, that last detail might be a little bit of a lie. I would start and stop every couple days. It was hard to settle on an idea and where to go with it. Every time I sat down at my computer I would feel the need to change everything I wrote the previous day. It felt like there was no way I would complete my story.

But then the answer came to me. OUTLINE! I’ve mentioned outlines a couple times, but I never settle on the best way for me to use one. It also seemed limiting to plan out the story and lock in the details so early on. What if I came up with a clever detail later and it ruined the rest of the story?

It took a while for me to think up a plan, but I thought it might be a good idea for authors to not plan out every, single detail. Instead, it’s good to have the general idea settled. So I sat down and got to work. Finally, I stuck to the plan I came up with forever ago.

New Outline on a Large Cork Board:

Image is blurry to hide details to my story.

With my web comic there are going to be a lot of chapters. Each note card on this board represents at least one chapter. The white and pink flash cards hold the general details to every chapter I wish to include. You might be curious to what the orange and yellow cards mean. Those cards are placed over the parts of the story I have already written. I knew if I didn’t hide those details I would constantly look back and want to change things or “fix” them. Instead, I covered them up and labeled them as “happily completed”. Then I upload the chapters to Google Docs where I have my few, kind editors reading over each chapter to make sure it works. They catch errors. I fix those errors. Then we all move on with the story.

This slightly new plan has been working out very nicely. If you notice the third card in the second row has a line down the center with “page 8” on one side and “page 9” on the other. (The chapters in my story will be called pages). The white card underneath this yellow card was originally thought to be a single chapter. As I wrote the chapter I realized it would be too long to fit nicely with my story. My solution was to write the plan into two chapters and mark the update with a line down the center of the yellow card. Everything has been working out nicely and I can’t wait to finish writing this story.

Now, you might look at this plan and think it’s crazy and no way it would work for you. This may be the case for many authors as they write. I am only sharing this plan because there may be the one person out there who needs it. I hope this reaches that one person and gives them the last kick they need to get to work. My blog is here to help all authors learn and take notes as they read about my personal steps and experiences as I write. Take my words and use them however or whenever you feel is best. Or laugh at my ideas and forget them entirely. Everyone is different and you know what works best for you.

Now get writing!