Current time 6:15PM, I am taking a mini break from writing to write this article, in hopes of helping out a fellow aspiring writer, or anyone really. My current word count is 103,808 words, and today is the 41st day. The best thing to keep in mind is that you are your only competition.
Where do I start? Well I wrote a different version of this novel four times. It is hard to explain, but I knew that this story had been in my head for years, it just evolved. The first time was back when I was in high school my senior year, the second version was my sophomore year of college, and my third rewrite was this summer, and my fourth rewrite is my current rewrite. So yes, like any aspiring writer I kept changing the plots, and honing my craft. I would hope so, since writing a well put together story, is not something that can be done overnight.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to the nitty gritty. I wanted to change the plot of my previous rewrite which was about 113,008 words. I was going to go back to edit it, when I realized that there was so much stuff that I wanted to change. However, I was dealing with this 113K monster that did not convey the story I wanted to tell. I began to notice a pattern in my writing, I was writing, but it was disorganized. All my life I have been a pantser, not a plotter, and although this may seem appropriate as I am writing fantasy, it was a complete waste of time. Well, not the writing, it takes years of trial and error, and practice to write, but I was pumping out words, and not being able to make sense of the plot.
That wasn't the only pattern I was noticing. One half of my story was completely random to my other half. I got characters names and descriptions messed up. The story was inconsistent, I even had two characters with the same exact name, which was no bueno since one of the characters was a villain, and the other was a total good guy. I was about to give up. I started outlining the last part of my 3rd rewrite at the last minute, but even then, I could not save the story. After my 3rd rewrite. I decided that I wanted to rewrite the story, but without all that plot changing and disorganization. I became desperate.
I literally searched online looking for answers, youtube, blogs, you name it. Then I typed in outlines. The pantser in me panicked. I was not exactly new to outlines, but the outlines I saw online I had either used before, or were not specific enough for me. I was about to give up on this story until I came across a website. There was an article there by Monica Leonelle. I read her article called How to write a novel.... I was skeptical, but I tried it, and it worked for me.
Sounds simple right? Well yes, but if you decide to use this method, it is important to know that you SHOULD NOT HALF ASS IT! Well to be fair, that is with any process you use, but there really is no such things as shortcuts. I do not care if you are writing flash fiction or a 50K pound romance, doing it half ass, will get you nowhere. That means do not skip a step. I also recommend reading, Write Better, Faster by Monica Leonelle. I listened to this book for free on audible.
I know this may sound insane, but what really got me through writing was reading. I am now a firm believer in the saying that if you don't have time to read, then you do not have time to write. In my free time, I did read. If I was not busy with college courses, I was reading if I was not writing. I still read during times where I a not writing. Using this outline method has not only allowed me to write organized, but I write faster and effective. I am not just pumping out words like I use to. I am actually efficient and speedy, at the same time.