How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?
I am a seat-of-the-pants writer by nature and inclination. However, after having written four books, I have found that devising a working outline of a book prior to starting writing helps me stay on track. I do not plan out each scene or chapter, but I have found the basic story structure formula to be a very good guide for keeping a book on track.
The formula I currently use is the 7-Point Story Structure, which lets you map out the important, pivotal points in your story, namely the hook, first plot point, midpoint, second plot point and resolution, as well as the two pinches where the villains rear their ugly heads. The author Dan Wells did a great presentation of this formula, and you can watch that on You Tube, so I won’t go into detail here.
These days, I basically plan my characters, setting, main conflicts and the resolution before I start writing. Knowing how a book will end helps me plan the beginning, and weave in the necessary transformation that needs to occur in the main characters. It also helps me to stay on track with the plot, since knowing the ending helps me target everything I write towards it. That is not to say that my plans don’t sometimes change, but such is the reality and magic of being a seat of the pants writer.
With my latest Progeny of Time YA dystopian series I actually have the first three books all planned out in terms of their endings, which lets me write them so much faster. I published the first book in the series, The Grower’s Gift in mid-May, and I plan to have the second book ready and available by the end of July.
The future is bleak in the year 2102. The planet is in chaos and the weather patterns have completely shifted, turning most of the world into an uninhabited wasteland.
The rich and powerful of North America have pulled back into the six remaining megacities, erasing all trace of a central government and leaving millions displaced by the environmental crisis to fend for themselves in the dying world.
Sixteen-year-old Maya has a gift, a power she thinks can heal the earth and make it habitable again. A gift that she must learn to harness. The school for the gifted in Neo York is the only place where she can learn to control her power and reach her potential.
Yet the school is not what it seems. Ran by the ruthless head of the city of Neo York, the school’s only objective is to extract the powers of the gifted and then discard them. Only Ty, heir to the city, can keep Maya from being destroyed there. But Ty has a secret, and his loyalty to his family has never wavered.
Will his growing love for Maya be strong enough to save them both?
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Genre - YA Dystopian
Rating – PG-13
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