It has been a long time since my last blog post. But I’m back and hopefully on a more consistent basis.
This January, my manuscript reached 40,000 words. A fine achievement in which I proudly pat myself on the back. As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, everyday now is the farthest I’ve ever gone. This is a good sign that shows that I can go for the long haul. I can do this writing thing kinda daily. And if I truly do this daily, I can be published. My writing habit is becoming a writer’s life. Now it is all about nailing down how to keep things organized. Since I’m a combo pantser and outliner, I tested out an outline method that helps me in both modes.
With the final word count of my epic Afro-fantasy story promised to be around 90,000 words, I have completed a third of it. I find that eye-opening. Since my story follows the three act structure, it’s amazing that at around the 30,000 work mark I came to the end of Act One. My word count lines up pretty nicely. This gives me the confidence to believe that I’m on track to reach my structure goals. My manuscript has become a big octopus with tentacles everywhere. I need an outlining system that keeps me both organized and on track.
I’ve chosen a particular three act outlining structure that works well for me. It’s called the 27 Chapter Outline. Here’s how it works:
In Scrivener, I created three folders, one for each act. Act One is Setup. Act Two is Conflict. Act Three is Resolution. Now within each act, I created three more folders, calling them Blocks 1-3. Once again, within each Block, I make three more folders. It is in these folders that I get into the nitty gritty of the outline breakdown.
In Block 1, I name the three folders: Introduction, Inciting Incident, and Immediate Reaction. The Introduction folder is for the start of my story. I use this section to introduce the characters and show the ordinary world of my characters. The Inciting Incident is pretty self-explanatory. This section is the start of the story’s plot; the event that sets everything off. The Immediate Reaction folder holds the part of the story in which the characters immediately react to the Inciting Incident.
In Block 2, the three folders are named Reaction, Action, and Consequence. Block 3 has folders named Pressure, Pinch, and Push
Act 2 is called the Conflict. The blocks continue with Block 4, which contains sections called New World, Fun & Games, and Old Contrast. Block 5’s sections are named Build Up, Midpoint, and Reversal. Block 6’s sections are Reaction 2, Action 2, and Dedication.
Act 3 is the Resolution. Block 7 is called Trials, Push 2, and Darkest Moment. Block 8 contains Power Within, Action 3, and Convergence. And last but certainly not least is Block 9. In here you’ll find Battle, Climax, and Resolution.
If you’ve studies the Hero’s Journey, you may recognize similar sections like Darkest Moment and Hero’s Dark Night of the Soul or Inciting Incident being equal to Call to Adventure.
There are many outlining techniques, this one seems to be working for me currently. It keeps me focused and mindful on the story elements I need to get across depending on the stage of story development I’m in. If this method stops working for me I just might switch to another technique in the future, who knows.
I’ve been watching a ton of Youtube videos on outlining recently. The reason for this is because I’ve been writing this manuscript as both a pantser and an outliner. This has created some organizational problems for me and I’m just watching how other writer’s keep things in order.