On Friday, June 1, I began a 30 day outline plan. I am using the schedule provided in the book “First Draft in 30 Days” by Karen S. Wiesner to get this done.
Day 1: Character Sketches.
This didn’t go very well. I hate doing character sketches, so I didn’t do a whole lot. I started by naming the main characters and deciding on their hair color and ages. Then I went to a teen modeling website and found pictures of kids that I could use for inspiration. They will help me picture the kids in my head as well as provide a basis for description. I haven’t put anything down on paper yet describing their actual personality though. At this point I don’t know anything about them, they are just faces in a crowd.
Day 2: Setting Sketches and Research List
Again, this didn’t go very well. I made a list of possible places where the story could go, and tried to find pictures online for the area. I plan on setting the story in the neighborhood where I grew up, and use my old house for the main character of the story. The trouble is that this town is in another state and I haven’t been there for almost thirty years. I asked my mother for pictures of the old homestead, but she is currently on the West Coast visiting my older brother and almost certainly doesn’t have any of those pictures with her. The good news is that her house is nearby, so if she can tell me where her photo albums are I may be able to get them myself.
Another thing that I did on Day 2 was rename most of my characters. I decided to actually use the first names of the models I selected instead of the ones I had originally chosen. I made them all a year older as well, to match the ages of the models, but I may change that back later. The problem is that if they are a year older, then they will be freshmen in high school instead of in the 8th grade. Since I left that town before I started high school, I don’t know what the high school was like. That makes it a bit harder for me to use the place in my story. Of course, I barely remember the middle school that I went to, so it probably doesn’t matter either way.
As far as the research list goes, I didn’t do that at all. Since I am still unclear on most of the plot, I have no clue what I will need to research. I’m hoping that will change by the end of today.
Day 3: Plot Sketch
Today I need to figure out the high and low points of my plot. I need to decide exactly what kind of story I am writing here and make sure it is something that people will want to read. I have a general idea of what I want (detective story with elements of the paranormal and a possible government conspiracy), but it is time to get the half-formed thoughts out of my head and onto the page. I don’t need to work out the whole flow of the book today, but I need to at least get it started.
The next two days are scheduled for writing my summary outline, which will be where I set out all those other details. After that is almost a week of research. I think that I will probably end up using a lot of that time ironing out all the details about character, setting, and plot that I glossed over earlier.
I’m not sure how well this process is going to go, but I am hoping that by the end of June I will have a decent outline and will be able to start writing the story on July 1. I’ll post regular updates to let you all know how it is going, so stay tuned!