Monday, July 4, 2011

What the Heck?!

An important part of revisions for me is outlining. Yes, I outline in revisions, after the whole manuscript is already rewritten. I'm a pantser, my methods are random and weird like that. Anyway, I put each chapter on a Post-It note, jot down a quick synopsis of everything that happens in that chapter, and stick it to the wall about my desk. I currently have two WIPs plotted out on the wall. This is a picture of it:

The pink, dark pink, and blue block of stickies is my outline of FAKE, which has gone through multiple revisions and is (for now) complete. The light pink is the original chapters in Jen's POV, the dark pink chapters are the ones in Orlando's POV, and the blue are the chapters that have been totally changed and revised. I just finished putting up the green block of stickies. It's for my newly finished first-draft, THE KING OF GROWING UP, which is just moving into revisions.

FAKE is 50 chapters. TKoGU is 37.

The weird thing is... TKoGU is 26,000 words longer than FAKE.

What the heck????? How did my much-longer WIP end up with 13 fewer chapters?? HOW??? And it's not even finished! I almost always end up adding words during the revision process, and I know that there are at least a couple thousand words that'll be added before TKoGU is ready for beta readers. This is so weird!! I would've thought that more words = longer outline. I prepared so much space on the wall for the TKoGU stickie block but... it just looks so tiny and empty!

Just goes to show... every manuscript is different. And some manuscripts are really, really weird and make you question everything you knew to be true about writing.


  1. Haha awesome. I've tried the post-it note method and I like it, but I think I need better quality post-it notes because mine continually fall off the wall and disappear forever...

  2. I use scotch tape, as well! You're right, they aren't sticky enough on their own.

  3. I don't think I'll ever understand writers :P It looks pretty neat though! And I know that I for one really never pay attention to # of chapters or chapter lengths :p I just read until my heart's content :P

  4. I have a similar process, except in a more-nerdy, less-visual way. I have all of my chapters in an excel spreadsheet and colour code them based on the POV and stage of reviewing.

    I'd be interested in your suggestions about a reviewing difficulty I'm having at the moment. My latest blog post (staying in the helicopter)explains the difficulty, so if you have time I'd love it if you can swing by and offer your opinion! :-)

  5. I <3 process blog posts, and I've always been intrigued by post-it people. Interesting visual way to go about such a difficult process. I think I might try note cards this WIP so I can lay them out on the bed and shuffle as needed. We'll see...

  6. That looks awesome! I've always wanted to do that but haven't written anything long enough. I once used to powerpoint to do something similar. And I once drew what I imagined each chapter to look like.
    Congrats on two finished stories!

  7. Thought of you