Outline, Revise, Submit

Last week I began the first exercise in The Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 stages to Writing Your Book, by Beth Barany. I posted the results for the first part of that writing exercise in my blog entry titled, An Adventure in Writing. The second part of the exercise involved discovering how my writing goals have changed over the past week and to begin your book, which for me, entails writing an outline, which is not one of my strong areas, but I gave it a shot.
I began the outline and took it partially into the second chapter, but it does not look the way that I learned that an outline should look. I think I might have gotten too detailed in some places, or maybe I just need to break it down more. It definitely needs work, but it’s a start, right? So, I’ll work more on that later. It is difficult for me to outline a fictional story. It almost seems as if a chronological timeline wouldn’t be a better fit. I have that nonfiction book that the outline thing would probably work better for. Would it be cheating to change books after the first week? I don’t think you really can cheat on something like this, but it would definitely signify a change in goals. Hmmmm.
I don’t think that my writing goals have changed much over the past week, but thinking about all of this has gotten me motivated to take steps toward achieving those goals from last week. The avenues I’ve chosen to pursue those goals is what changed, at least somewhat. I pulled up a juvenile chapter book, for upper elementary aged children that I wrote a few years back. The Adventures of Ann and Kinzi is about two young girls who befriend one another during the depression. I had never done anything with it, mostly because I wasn’t completely happy with the story line. I didn’t feel like it really had enough of a climax. It was a good story idea, but I felt that upon finishing it, readers might say, “So what?”. There just wasn’t enough happening and it didn’t all fit together as smooth as I would have liked. The reason that I dug this particular story up came from all the thinking that this exercise caused. I had been thinking about the Nancy Drew Mysteries and how I had enjoyed them as a girl, when I suddenly figured out how to make this story into something worthwhile, just as if a switch had been flipped in my head. Those were the elements that I had wanted for this story. The answer is to turn this story into a mystery, which will need quite a bit of rewriting, but I have already revised three chapters. While I am at it, I will add more period details, as this is another area where this story is weak.
I missed the deadline on the Writer’s Digest contest. Story of my life, I always seem to fall short of finances for these things. So, maybe that goal was forced to shift a bit, as well. Not much though. I will go ahead and submit that story, Timothy Turtle Discovers Jelly Beans, to my publisher and cross my fingers. I don’t see any reason for her not to accept it. I think that it is that good. I guess we’ll see.
Next week, I’ll talk about Stage 2 in Beth Barony’s book, so be sure and drop by to see what’s happening on Writing to be Read.

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