I’ve been trying to figure out a way to begin outlines before I begin writing the stories I come up with. Typical method is for me to write a few scenes, then reverse outline them on plot cards in Scrivener before continuing on with a preworked outline. Once I get to this point, I typically do two plot cards per one scene written as I progress through the project. This method is far from perfect. Not only do I get confused between what I’m writing and outlining, if I hit a block in the outline, I don’t feel confident enough to continue writing scenes, especially when I have few outlined, and it stalls the project—as it has with TPOM3 at the moment.
I think, however, I may have discovered a method I can work with. It’s how I figured out the last portion of Brotherhood A’s outline.
Basically what I did was create a new text file in Scrivener and typed in all the plot points which were required to complete the story. This was about ten or eleven plot points, and I typed them up out of order, so the next step was putting them in the order in which I wanted them to happen. After I did this, I handwrote the scene summaries on 5×8 index cards—again, doing them out of order, as the ideas occurred to me. Once I had these done, I organized them then read through them over and over until I came up with interim scenes to fill out the outline a bit and tie in plotting I’d already outlined or written out. These cards, I tucked into place in order despite writing out of order, because I was basing them in part on the big plot-points cards. With the outline completed in handwriting on index cards, I then entered the plot cards in Scrivener, then read through the last portion of the outline and the rest of the story to make sure I was picking up all the plot threads I’d opened in the manuscript and numbered outline. I ended up adding a card or two, then numbered the new cards with an epilogue summary card at the end.
This is not the most speedy method I could have come up with. The whole process took me a couple days for about fifteen plot cards, but it was both fun and helpful. I plan on using this method with the next story I do after I finish Brotherhood A, starting with it before I actually write any scenes out. I’d like to develop a completed outline using this method.
Now it’s just a matter of deciding which project to work on next. I have quite a few in line, but none are calling strongly enough to really grip my attention. I’ve already got a plan for what to work on after I’m done with TPOM’s books—the first and second books of the trilogy have some missing scenes I can’t write until I know how the third book ends. That will be A Life of Note, which will either be one long book or a trilogy. Not sure which at this point and probably won’t have any idea until I get to working on its outline.
I’d kind of like to work on a couple different books/trilogies after Brotherhood A. I also need to work up a timeline of events so that I can keep everything straight in the books, because most of the ones following TPOM kind of follow upon one another. Even the book I have planned of the changing of Lissau’s government from empire to hierocracy ties into the overall scheme of the Édalain Empire’s longstanding animosity with Ghulia and its ruler, the Autocrat.
The Humble Miracles trilogy and Brotherhood B don’t directly tie in to that relationship, but they are about conflicts which must be ended for the greater good of the Empire. I see Brotherhood B as the last Empire-centric story set during Empress Yulée’s rule. I may write a “sequel” to Brotherhood A; it should be one book, and it ties in to Brotherhood A a few years following events in that book.
I really need to get the timeline worked up. That’ll help me with organization of this mess of ideas. LOL