NaNo With Pneumonia/I Love Post-It Outlines

Winner-2014-Square-ButtonAs already announced on my homepage — I won NaNoWriMo! While I keep having to explain to people unfamiliar with NaNo that you don’t actually “win” anything, writing the last of those 50,000 words sure feels like a victory. Especially since I not only hit 50,000 words, I finished a rough-draft with an ending (unlike last year, when I won NaNo but didn’t actually finish the first draft until the following September).

I’m feeling particularly victorious this year since I finished NaNoWriMo while battling pneumonia. I was literally so sick that I was writing from bed for almost two weeks. Not fun! This is why it’s so important to write extra words during the first week of NaNo, so you don’t fall so far behind when life happens.

The Great Wall Of Noveling

This year, I tried a new way of outlining my story that was somewhere between a plotter and a pantster method. I had about the first 1/3 of the story in mind when I started, so I wrote each key scene on a Post-It note and arranged them on the wall. As I wrote, more ideas came to me and the Post-It outline grew, sometimes just a scene or two ahead of what I was currently writing.

Novel synopsis: In the wake of nuclear disaster, scientists rush to find a cure for dangerous mutations that are killing young adults at an alarming rate. Instead, they accidentally create superhumans. Not content to remain as lab-rats, the supers break free and begin taking control of the world. At least, most of them do. One would rather remain hidden as Cady Wright, a deceptively harmless 16-year-old girl.

Since this story was written in close 3rd-person with multiple point-of-view characters, I color-coded the sticky notes. Pink is for Cady’s scenes. Light blue is for Alec, Cady’s love-interest. Green is for the villain, Jayden. The dark blue and purple are scenes I haven’t actually written yet — I think I’m going to work them in to provide a global perspective on the novel’s events, which will be important if I do decide to write a sequel (which I think I will).

I can’t recommend this outlining method enough. You can tear out scenes you don’t need, and replace or reorder with ease. If you have an idea that you’re not sure where it goes, just write it on a Post-It and stick it somewhere on the wall. It’ll fit eventually. I’ll definitely do this again for future projects.


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