Outlining A Novel And Getting… Somewhere • Writing Thoughts

I’m a pantser. Always have been, and probably always will be. Recently, I’ve taken a more ‘pantser/outliner’ approach, particularly in the last month. What I’ve discovered is that it definitely helps me visualise the big picture a lot better, and I give it the good ol’ college try, but ultimately I go back to old habits.

I’m not saying winging it is a bad thing, it can be a fantastic way for your characters to meander and for you as the author to explore their personalities, but when it comes to putting together a 70k+ novel, you can’t just be a pantser (though I believe Stephen King would disagree with me here).

pantsing author

I’m nearly finished my first draft. I have about 20k left to write (approximately) and with my word goal of 1k per day, I believe I’ll have a wonderfully messy, infuriatingly scattered manuscript ready for editing by the end of the month. However, I’m several weeks away from my deadline and I still don’t have an ending.

Something about picking a path for my characters to walk that leads to the end of the book is terrifying to me. What if I get it wrong? What if I have a solid book up until the last few chapters and I screw it up at the final hour? That’s the kind of thinking that stops any half decent writer from getting anywhere; fear. Useless, taunting fear that offers absolutely no benefits to an aspiring writer. All it does is make you stumble and stall and, for some unlucky souls, it can make you quit.

pantsing author

While I’ve been half-pantsing and half-outlining my novel from almost the very start, but I have a hope that it isn’t too late to get my thoughts together in the form of a clear, concise outline. I have my beginning, my middle and now I just need a solid ending, so that’s my plan for tomorrow. I’m going to sit down with a pen and paper and plot out what’s going to happen to my characters; who’s going to live, who will die and what shocking event is going to happen to bleed into the sequel.

Are you a pantser or an outliner? Which do you prefer and why? Comment below!

3 Books To Read Over Halloween

Although reading may be the last thing on many minds on Halloween, for book lovers everywhere Halloween is just something that may or may not dictate the theme of the book they’ll read next.

I’m not a huge horror fan myself, but you don’t have to read things that are genuinely scary, something with a dark tone will work just as well! Or hey, break the mould and read something Christmassy, go nuts!

Here are 3 books I plan to read over the Halloween break:

The Dark Tower (The Gunslinger) by Stephen King 

This book isn’t a jump-scare gory horror or anything like that, but the word ‘dark’ is in the title so I figured it would work! I kid. Kind of.

The story itself does feature scary aspects and is about a character called Roland who pursues The Man in Black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life. Sounds perfect for Halloween, right? Stephen King blends horror, fantasy and science fiction to create the story and, as usual, he knocks it out of the park.

halloween books

Outcast by Robert Kirkman 

I picked this graphic novel up on a whim last year and I still haven’t read it, but I did flip through the pages and I admit I got goose-flesh just looking at some of the panels. And from what I’ve heard from my horror-loving friends, it’s a fantastic book that will genuinely scare the crap out of you.

I’ve been trying to be a little braver with my choices in books, so I think I’ll probably attempt to read it tonight (Halloween night! Oiche shamhna shona daoibh!) The book is the brainchild of Robert Kirkman, the same guy who brought us The Walking Dead (one of my favourite series ever!) so I have high expectations.

halloween books

Zom-B by Darren Shan 

Finally, I think Zom-B would be a great read, particularly if you’re a scaredy cat like me. I absolutely loved Darren Shan’s books when I was a teenager (Cirque du Freak opened up a whole new world of reading for me!) as they were totally engrossing, quite gross and very sad at times.

I’m also a huge zombie lover and I love to read and watch new infection origin stories and see how different sets of survivors deal with the zombie crisis. This will probably the most fun read of the three, so I might take this one on first!

What are you reading over Halloween? Let me know in the comments!