Sketching: How Extensive Do I Outline?

One of my favorite things to draw are sketches.  They’re fun, and they can be as quick as you want them to be.  A sketch can be drawn as fast as thirty seconds—or it can take you up to five to ten minutes.

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There is only one rule about how to sketch properly.  Use your pencil lightly. You never want to draw a hard line while sketching—because what’s the goal of a sketch? To be erased.  And trust me when I tell you that hard lines do not erase.

Okay, Shim, you’re thinking.  What’s the point in drawing something only to erase it?

I counter that with another question.  What’s the point in writing a first draft if it’s basically a universal truth that all first drafts suck royally and it will have to be edited/rewritten to pieces?  By which I mean, you have to start somewhere.  Sketches aren’t really like first drafts, though.

Sketches are like outlines.

What do outlines do?

Generally, outlines give you an idea of where you’re going.  They also might give you an idea of what won’t work.  They might help you prevent some gaping plot holes, or show you that letting this character do that thing this early in the book might make it hard for that other character to be introduced.

What is the first rule of outlines?  They are not set in stone.

Hmm, does that remind you of anything? Oh yeah, sketches! Sketches aren’t set in stone, either.  In fact, sketches need to be drawn lightly so they can be erased later!

Both sketches and outlines are a guide.  They can be changed, tweaked, or completely thrown out the window.  In fact, they don’t even have to be used in the first place if you don’t want to use them. (I guess it’s possible to draw by the seat of your pants.  Heheh.)

Sketches should be simple.

How does one draw a sketch?  Is there a right way to sketch?

Nope.  A sketch is basically a series of lightly-draw lines that are placed to portray a vague image that can be expanded upon later.  You can sketch in different styles.  You can sketch really fast.  You can take a littler longer and add a few important details to your sketch.

Whoa, lets stop there a moment.  Details?  Details are dangerous.  Details are what should be in the final version, and not necessarily before that.  Why?  If you add too many details, you’ll bog it down.  You’ll clutter it.  You’ll take the simple, easy enjoyment out of it.

Simple.  Simple is the key here.  Remember about sketches and outlines not being set in stone? If you draw too many details, its going to start feeling like it is set in stone. And you don’t want that.

Okay, so, how much is too much? How simple/detailed do you do it?  Lets go back to what a sketch and outline are and what they do.  They’re guides.  Their goals are to show you a direction you can go and what might be the best way to get there.  Sort of like a roadmap, but with hopefully less potential of getting lost.

So how much do you do?

Only sketch/outline enough to figure out where you’re going.

Its a guide! Treat it like one.  Guidelines are not laws.  They can be dismissed or tweaked.  Guidelines are also not so vague you have no idea you’re being guided.

Only you know how much guiding you need before you can get started and succeed.  Maybe it’ll take some experimentation to figure out that perfect amount, but never go under or over that amount.

It’s a guide.

Looking Back at August: By Far The Longest Month of the Year

So.  August is finally over!  I swear, August was like the longest month ever.  I am so sick of it now.

August was pretty crazy.  Obviously, there’s school starting up, and that was exciting.  Not.  Actually, kind of scary, since I’m experiencing things I’ve never experienced before.  Fun.

August was also hot.  We had a mild (ish) July weather, so August decided to be as miserable as ever.

August also had lots of fun medical stuff.  My sister got sick with something similar to strep throat.  And I have suffered from headaches for a week and a half with no sign of ceasing.  (And it turns out, I might be following in several family members’ footsteps and have migraines.  Or maybe it’s just cluster headaches.  We dunno really.) I also had fun with a CT scan and four MRI scans! Yeah.  (The short version of that story was that the doctor decided she wanted to look into a minor abnormality I have, and see if there’s something medically wrong causing it, or if it’s just…a thing I have.  The results came back today as being perfectly fine and I don’t have a secret tumor or something growing in my head or anything.  I am perfectly healthy.  Aside from some allergies and these blasted headaches.)

But I doubt any of you care about all of that! How about the writing?

Writing.  Well, I’m right on with my goal.  I have less than 40k left to edit.  20k for September and 20k for October, and then I should be finished just in time for Halloween and NaNoWriMo.

When I first started editing, I wrote an outline to follow.  It was a fairly simple outline, only having the chapters and vague scenes that needed to happen for the plot to progress.

That way there was plenty of leeway.

So of course, my characters have decided to be a little rebellious.  I keep having scenes pop up that definitively aren’t part of the outline, and things happen, and oh gosh the emotions.  One character in particular keeps having horribly emotional scenes and it’s so darn sad.  But really, I think the novel is coming out better for these little unpredicted moments.

Hopefully things will continue to go smoothly.  Or, well, as smoothly as a second draft can be—’cause believe me, this is loads better than draft one, but still not half as good as published works.

NaNoWriMo Day 25: Oh Boy…

I have to admit something.  I am a NaNoRebel.

How so?  Well, originally, I was supposed to be writing a prequel, and I was going to follow all of the rules.  But then I got so bored and frustrated (Week Two Blues to the extreme, apparently) and I gave up.  Terrible, I know, right?

So, there it is.  My terrible, horrible secret.  Instead of writing a novel, I wrote 20k in one novel, wrote a 37-chapter outline all the way to the end (which I have never done before), and then wrote another 12k for the story I wrote the outline for.

A part of me feels guilty about it, but at the same time, I don’t think I should feel guilty.  NaNoWriMo is about writing a novel in a month, right?   But it’s also about giving people the motivation to write a novel in a month.  So, okay, maybe I didn’t write a full novel.  I didn’t even write on one novel.

However, I did write.  After a month of not having the motivation to write, I finally did write.  So, okay, maybe I’m screwing around with the rules here, but I still got somewhere and I’m happy about it.

Plus, I got my little siblings to join with me, and they’re following the rules completely.  My eight year old sister just got to her goal this morning on the YWP site (as well as finished the story), so she’s very excited.  My brothers are still a ways from their goals, though, so that might not work out the greatest.