Friday, July 9, 2010

Nonfiction: Outlining

I'm fully entrenched in two nonfiction work-for-hire pieces at the moment.  Actually, really only entrenched in one, but thinking about the other.  I love history, so I'm really excited about this assignment.

At any rate, the guidelines for this set require an outline--which, normally, I am not inclined to write.  I wasn't sure where to start, so I spent some time looking at the history/social studies curriculum frameworks for my state. I pored through some of my library books.  I googled Colonial America. I jotted some notes.

But last night at the library, I actually started outlining.  And you know what? It's pretty cool!  I can skim my notes and my resources and only pull out important highlights.  I don't have to spend hours reading details--of course, that will come later.  But I suddenly feel like I have a direction to go with this project. 

I know a few of my CPs and blogging friends outline their plots, but I have never done it.  It's got me thinking...

Who knows, maybe it'll inspire me to outline for my new novel. Anyone else outline?

6 comments:

Joanne said...

I do keep a separate journal for each writing project I have. It definitely helps to have an evolving outline in so many ways, which I keep in those journals along with notes and ideas on characters, locations, that sort of thing. It all works out almost like a map, getting that plot to where it needs to be.

Kris said...

Keeping a separate journal is a great idea, Joanne! Thanks for stopping by!

Jess said...

I don't keep a journal, but I create a folder in Word with different documents. I have different pages for Outline, Notes, Characters Sketches, and a "Suggestion/Corrections" page so when I get a tip from a blog or a thought occurs to me (like "don't use the same adjective more than once in the same chapter" or "round out Character X- he's flat"), I make a note of it and fix it later. That way, my momentum isn't slowed down, but I don't forget to polish those parts of the manuscript.

Kris said...

Good suggestions, Jess. Thanks!

Julie Musil said...

Kris, I definitely outline my nonfiction. I need direction! As for fiction, I've loosely outlined. With my next project, I'm trying to outline a little bit more, so I don't wander too much.

Kris said...

The outlining is def helping w/ my most recent nonfic project. I should try it w/ my fiction! Thanks, Julie!