Agent’s Day — Location, location, location

Just a quick post on Agent’s Day which is this Saturday.

This event is in the auditorium of the Social Science Bldg (SSB) at St. Charles Community College.  If you came to the conference in November, Agent’s Day is in the same place!

Just trying to head off confusion since this is only the second time we’ve been in this particular location on the campus.

If you have a critique session with an agent, remember to bring 9 copies of the first 500 words of your manuscript.

And turn off your cell phone.  And remind me to turn off my cell phone.  Ahem.


To Outline or Not to Outline

The outline (yes, the entire outline) for my YA novel in progress

I’ve had several people ask me lately about outlining my work.  Do I or do I not outline a manuscript before I start writing?

My answer was the same as for the question about which comes first, plot or character.  “Sometimes.”

When I write nonfiction, the order of events follows some (hopefully) logical sequence.  I follow a process from start to finish.  I relate historic events chronologically.  I write up the life cycle of a particular animal.   I almost never outline my nonfiction although, given how difficult the rewrite process can be, it might not be a bad idea.

When I write fiction, I usually outline.  If it is a picture book, I get out my story board and write a sentence or two for each scene and lay it out on the board.  For a novel, I make a list of the events that have to happen, the scenes that are already in my mind.

For a longer fiction project, I don’t always have the whole plot in place before I start writing.  I need to play with the project a bit to get to know my characters.  At times like this, I start with a partial outline, write, learn more about my main character, meet a few secondary characters and then stop writing for a bit while I add to my plot.  That’s where I am right now on my new YA.  My POV character and the romantic lead each have a sidekick so I’ve added two characters.  Now I need to strengthen the plot.

That’s what works for me right now.  Tomorrow, it may be completely different!