I spent an unusual amount of time yesterday working on my outline for Starforgers. Most of that time was spent just getting it up to date with the last five or six chapters that I had written. My outlines start out as brief descriptions of what should happen in each chapter. As I actually write the chapters, I add to the outline a one or two sentence description of every scene in the chapter. This lets me have a sort of bare bones version of the story, a mini-Cliffs Notes, if you will.
I usually use a spreadsheet for this outlining. Spreadsheets work great on your computer, but printing them out on paper can be a royal pain. Especially when you want to tack the pages up on the wall to get an idea of the flow of your story. This is something that just can’t be done on the computer screen. Maybe my screens are two small. Looking at your story scene by scene on a wall, lets you see it as a whole creation, not just a few chapters at a time.
I have about three or four subplots in this novel and its getting really hard to track them over the course of the entire book. I will try and assign a color to each subplot and then stand back and look again at the whole novel to see if I’m spending too much time on one subplot or another.
I may have to resort to graphs or some other visual display of information to clearly see the ebb and flow of the all the story elements. This is my forth novel and apparently the most complex one to date. But I feel that the story might get all off track if I don’t slow down a bit now and get it under control.