A few months ago, I’ve started my ‘How to Outline a Novel‘ series, which I’ve never finished. I must admit that the fact that I haven’t finished it has been eating me from the inside out but in the end, I’m glad that the things turned out to be this way.
Namely, I’m the least suitable person for giving advice on outlining because the only thing which I can do well, is to tell you how to get stuck in your outline for 3 years and never finish your novel.
Sometime during last week, my wife showed me her Facebook memory; it has been exactly three years since I had my one and only book promotion which had happened in my hometown, in Serbia.
Three years! Man! And, all I’ve been doing ever since is outlining, writing down a couple of hundreds of pages, disliking the process, and starting everything from scratch, which means – Outlining!
The realization that it has been three years really came to me as a heavy slap in the face, followed by a slimy spit.
I can clearly remember that three years ago my plan was to publish a novel every two years. Not only that I failed at that, but I’m far from starting a second novel, and I’ve entered my fourth year.
I know that writing isn’t some kind of race in which you need to pump out novels as if you are some kind of an assembly line, but enough is enough.
Sometimes, I wish I had a real deadline instead of one which I assigned it myself.
After I analyzed what went wrong, I came to the conclusion that I’ve entered a vicious circle of reading books on writing.
Not all the books I’ve read were on outlining, but enough of them were. If you want to know which books I’ve read, you can check them on this list, but don’t get caught into the same trap.
The most books on writing teach you how a story should look like, not how to get there and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Once you know where you’re heading, you should figure out your own method for getting there.
The thing is that I was trying to build a perfect novel and all I’ve made in three years is an imperfect outline and I could’ve had at least one good enough novel instead.
The only worthy thing I’ve got is the exact same thing I’ve had three years ago; an idea for a murder mystery thriller.
For the last time, I’m going to build an outline, but not in the way the other people told me to, but in the way I feel I should do it; in the way I did it the first time.
Perhaps then, I could make my own “How to Outline a Novel”, but let’s not get carried away.
One step at a time.