Pillar 6 is all about revising the outline. Just like with a first draft of a book, Jesper Schmidt and Autumn M. Birt, authors of Plot Development Step by Step, believe the outline requires revision. Looking at the outline as a whole provides the opportunity to look at pacing, balance of Point of View (POV), as well as ensuring both the internal and external plot lines are clear.
The Revision Chapter, or Pillar 6, is a set of questions to ask yourself while working through the outline. They suggest you go through the manuscript outline chapter by chapter. I do not write or outline in chapters, I write in scenes. So the first thing I need to do is to combine my scenes into chapters and cut a part of the last scene so it can end in a cliffhanger and start the next chapter. It was not too difficult for me to do so because this novella is written from one character’s point of view.
A few of the questions to consider when going through your outline are:
- Will both the “E” (external) and “I” (internal) plotlines be clear to the reader?
- Are the subplots paced well and merged with the overall plot? Refer to Pillar 3 for the subplot development.
- Do all of the POV (Point of View) characters have complete character arcs incorporated in the outline? Refer to Pillar 1 for the Character Arc. Check for a clear positive, negative, or neutral character arc.
- Has your protagonist(s) struggled enough?
- Is there a balance of humour and darkness in the story?
- Are the relationships given the attention needed for the story?
My outline was almost 9,000 words in length by the time I had completed it. I have written to the midpoint at this time, (November 14th, NaNoWriMo is almost half over!) It was a nice buffer to have the outline made and input in my document. I was able to shape many of the statements into scenes, dialogue, settings, so many of the original words are still in place. When writing my outline I am telling the story to myself. So changing it into a manuscript is partially changing the telling into showing. Adding description, reactions, thoughts, dialogue, and action to each of the scenes.
The final Pillar of the book is Pillar 7, revising opening and closing chapters. I have written my opening chapter so I think the exercise will make it a stronger opening, it will be interesting to see how it impacts the closing chapter. I should be 3/4 of the way through writing the book, so I should be writing Act 3 at that time. I look forward to both!
Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do with it.Maxwell Perkins