Kelly Haworth

Author of Queer Speculative Romance

Book-In-A-Year Month One: Outlining


It’s time for my first check in of my Book-In-A-Year project!

I started this project with only a paragraph of information. The names, genders and orientations of my main characters, and a very basic idea of what I wanted the plot to be. Since then I have done the following:

  • Figured out the basic background, appearance, personality, and college major/job aspirations of my two main characters
  • Used this information to let my characters lead me through their plot
  • Complete a first draft outline of the novel (not broken down by scene, but still quite thorough)

Yeah, you heard the second one right. I already knew the gist of what I wanted to do, but not the twists and turns. Usually I will just start writing and wait until I stumble upon plot points on accident. But really what was keeping me from letting my mind follow that same wandering process, just without the mess of trying to write thousands of words while it happens?

To my amazement and relief, it totally worked. I just sat at my computer, thought about the scenarios my characters were in in each bullet point of my outline, and kept asking myself, “what would this character do next?” until I reached “the end.” It took a couple days once I was ready to try it, and in the end I have a 3 page outline. I’m not sure if this means I have a really clear picture of these characters’ personalities and motivations in my head, if I totally lucked out, or if my outline is actually not that great. But it reads pretty well to me (albeit, it’s mostly a romance drama with only medium amounts of character driven external action) and I’m happy with it, and that’s gotta count for something.

My plan for month two is to do research on pertinent subjects so I can write about them well (in this case, poetry and political science for one of the character’s studies) and flesh out my outline a bit more – solidify it better on a scene by scene basis, and maybe make up my mind on how I’m handling the POV so I can actually start writing the novel in month three. That is, if my schedule lets me. I am almost 8 months pregnant after all.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to giving you more updates on this project!

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