Part Three: Blueprints

Tool 24 ~ Work from a plan.

Thank goodness! A writer after my own heart! I was the high schooler who baulked for hours over the outline. I still detest the thing. My feature writing professor says, “Email me an outline of your story by Friday.” I grimace and try to think of something else, like pitting sweet cherries, the red juice staining my fingers. Anything is better than outlines. Groan.

Apparently Clark thought so too at a young age, so he invented the “reverse outline.” Write the story first and then find the outline in the pages. If an outline of the big picture can’t be found, it’s practically guaranteed the reader won’t see it either.

“Index the big parts of your work.”

If not the reverse outline, try out an informal outline. Personally, this has always been my favorite. Just like a formal outline with all the Roman numerals but no sub-letters dangling underneath. Clean, precise, ingenious. 🙂

Right now in my writing the little pieces have been jumping out at me, the adjective stuck at a weird angle to a noun, the misplaced comma, the warped sentence order . . . you know, little things.  Maybe its time to start incorporating planning–to see the big picture.


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