When Outlines Fork Up

On October 5, 2015, I ordered Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M Weiland. I read the entire Kindle e-book in one sitting as though it was a best selling thriller novel. I could not walk away, I was inspired. So, I immediately started outlining my novel in order to prepare for NaNoWriMo the next month.
So, I outlined, and outlined, and kept outlining. When November hit, I began to write this story from this outline I had spent three weeks developing. Within the first 5K words, my plot line had hit a fork in the road at least three or four times. The outline was useless except for giving me the ability to develop the characters in my mind.
Still intrigued by the outlining idea, I learned about Scrivener (which I am using now and adore) and used the corkboard feature to revamp the steps I wanted to take in my novel. I did not keep to that outline since my plot progressed more naturally with a few other monkey wrenches tossed in the path of my characters.
By January, I began to really struggle. I did not reach my 50k words in November which I was not heartbroken over. I had my elements, my characters were talking to me, yet I did not like where they were going. I was getting bored with my own plot line and that is never ever a good sign.
Somehow (fearful procrastination), a few months went by and my story sat at 35K word, wondering if it was going to be tossed into my junk pile. Then, I began to journal about my feelings on this writers block. I did not outline this time. I did write about my desire to go back to another story in which I wrote only 8k words but it had seemed more like the middle of a story instead of the beginning.
Ding. Ding. Ding. My creativity kicked me in the face. I didn’t even have to scrap the 35k words since my twist fits right in. It is as though I was writing in order to add that other more intriguing plot to my story via my subconscious.
I’ve since given up on the traditional version of an outline, since no such thing exists. I do hand write journal entries on what I think the characters want. I also do a lot of “What if?” statements to see what sounds like a good idea. I feel like I am accessing a different part of my brain when I decide to write by hand as opposed to using a keyboard. I’ve always like to hand write my ideas first and all my outlining was handwritten except for the Scrivener version.
James Scott Bell writes about Pantsers and Outliners. Pantsers being writers who are creating their stories by the seat of their pants. I can promise I will not follow the outline I write. I have no regrets about the outlining process though. What if I had written my first idea without hitting that fork in the road? Then colliding with another fork. And then once again. I’ve spent a lot of time with these characters over the past year. They are starting to grow on me. I am still putting them through hell though.
This writing thing has a lot of bumpy roads and I’ve identified a few of the plot holes I will need to fill in thanks to my detours. That is for the second draft though, when I build eloquent architecture where there once was just a brick wall.

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