Because who doesn't like staring at the ceiling fan?

Outlining is Hard

It’s like pantsing a novel during NaNo, except without all the randomly fun scenes and none of the excitement. I get all the frustration of not knowing where I’m going without the benefit of being amused at what I wrote (especially if I know I’m not going to keep it because it’s that ridiculous).

I’ve played in the scene sandbox a few times and come up with a new character for book 2. She just kind of… appeared. Dumped on my protag like “here, she’s your responsibility. Have fun.” Except I’m mostly like o_O which is pretty much what my protag did too.


I also have no idea who my villain is this time around. In the first book it was so easy. OMG serial killing werewolf! Run for your lives! Now it’s like… oh no, I have to set up the guest bedroom for this random character. The horror!

Should my villain be another werewolf? Should they be a human? Should they be horribly sympathetic, as in the villain and my protag might be buddies under different circumstances? Should one of my protag’s friends flip and become an antagonist for some legitimate reason, where the resolution will not be a win for anyone?

Or should I just focus on the relationships of the characters this time around? I gotta tell you, I really need to get my characters between the sheets already. You could….

Osnap. Hold on. I just had an idea. Hmm.

Oh. Oh, that is evil.

No villain ideas yet, but damn if I didn’t just think of a way to turn my protag’s world upside down. This could be interesting. I’ll get back with you in a few days. In the mean time, if you have any tips for outlining without a clear villain and an undetermined ending, please leave them in the comments! I need your thinks!

PS – because I am evil, and you need giggles: Jurassic Park remix


6 responses

  1. David Abu Laith

    Hmm… I’ve never run into that problem before. All I would ask is this (having zero knowledge of what your series is about): How do you want your protagonist to change? Use your villain as a vehicle for that.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    • That’s my problem, I don’t know how I want my character to change. I know some little changes, and at least one big personal change, but they aren’t really villain related issues.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:48 am

  2. Oh, uhm. Outlining. Hm.

    I can’t help you with that. I am the worst sort of pantser.

    Although normally I do start with a beginning and end in mind. I rarely have the problem of not having antagonists. They’re normally people in the Protag’s past.

    October 4, 2012 at 7:25 am

    • This is the second time ever that I’ve had this problem, and the first time with established characters. It’s frustrating. Oh well. I’ll keep plugging away and see if something strikes my fancy.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:49 am

  3. Outlining can be a task, but as you already seen at my blog there are resources that make it easier. So long as you have an idea for a story and a character you like, take her and hammer her with conflict after conflict to work her way through.

    October 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

  4. I’m coming late to this party, but I’ve found The Art and Craft of Story: A Second Practitioner’s Manual by Victoria Mixon, as well as Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, to be hugely helpful in mapping out story structure. Wish I’d given up pansting novels years ago 😛

    February 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

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