Paula is Plotting

Paula’s Post #3 – By now, if you’ve read my previous posts, you should all know I’m doing something I’ve never successfully done before.

I’m ‘Outlining’.

That’s right, ‘Outlining’ with a capital ‘O’.

And don’t think I can’t hear all you grammarians gnashing your teeth and wailing away out there. Don’t think I can’t picture the gasps and moans echoing through cyberspace as you shake your finger and point out in a lofty, ‘la-di-dah‘ tone that this is clearly not a word that needs to be capitalized.

Technically, you may be right. The Oxford Online Dictionary ‘Grammar Checker’ (yes, happily there is such thing) describes the ‘Rules for Capital Letters” – darn, I did it again- and as far as I can see The Rules don’t apply to the word Outlining. ‘Outlining’ is not a word that refers to a ‘people’ a ‘place’ or a ‘related word’.

But does that mean I can’t capitalize ‘Outlining’? Because right now the word ‘Outlining’ is really, really Important to me. Not only is it Important. I’m having Fun with my Outlining. So much Fun, it has become a really really Big Deal to me.

Isn’t that enough to earn a ‘Capital Letter’ for the ‘O’ in Outlining? Can’t we all just agree that occasionally it’s okay, (Dare I say Fun) to break all these constricting grammar conventions?

After all, e e cummings apparently used all lower case words to write his name! Or if he didn’t (everyone else did). Why can’t I capitalize all the words that I really like? All the words I want You to know are Important to me?

And right now, as you’ve no doubt gathered, Outlining is Important to me.

Which brings me to the point of this post. My ‘Outlining’ is going Swimmingly. (Oooh. I may have dropped a hint here). And, as a result of my ‘Immersion’ into Chapter 10 of James Scott Bell’s ‘Plot and Structure’, I can Happily report that I have by Now finished Outlining Act One of what I hope will become a Tightly Constructed YA Thriller with a classic Three Act Structure.

Happily, I can also assure you that I am not alone in my love of Capital Letters. At least where the subject of Outlining is concerned. To wit, I give you James Scott Bell’s ‘OP’s’ and “NOP’s”.

I’ve never been an OP before, (well, except maybe when I wore those cute, aqua blue, Hawaiian print, Ocean Pacific (OP) board shorts I bought a few years back when I was really thin and quickly, er, grew out of).

But that isn’t what Mr. Bell is referring to. His “OP’s” are “Outline People” and, as you’ve already guessed,  his “NOP’s” are “No Outline People”.

Now I’m not going to reveal everything in Chapter Ten, (the fact that I’ve even made it as far as Chapter Ten before abandoning my goal of being an OP and reverting to my former, stubborn, galloping NOP ways is, if I do say myself, amazing). That wouldn’t be fair to Mr. Bell. You should Buy His Book! Not have me paraphrase the whole chapter.  And Chapter Ten is a Most Instructive Chapter. Check it out for yourself. And no, I am not getting any royalties for this shameless promotion, I just think his book is really, really helping me with my Plotting.

There. Now I’ve said it. The ‘P’ word. “Plotting.” It’s out in the open.

And by now, I’m guessing that, with each new post,  we’re beginning to drive you crazy. I can almost hear you yelling: ‘enough with the preamble already, just tell us what your damn book’s about‘?

But I can’t.

Not yet.

I truly don’t know. I haven’t finished Outlining yet. I haven’t finished Plotting yet.  But I can tell you I’ve ‘Plotted’ my way through approximately one third of my Draft Outline.  A total of Twenty Two “Scenes” that may or may not become Stand-Alone Chapters in My Novel, once I stop Outlining and start Writing.

Okay, okay, I hear you. Enough with the Capital Letter schtick. But honestly, what’s the harm in a little fun? It’s 1:38 am. The wee hours of the morning are my favourite writing time. I’ve had a glass of wine and I’m having Fun with this post.

And why is that? Didn’t you hear what I said. I’ve got 22 scenes! Yippee! And not only that, I have over 15 character sketchs tucked neatly away in my electronic filing cabinet, StoryMill. Double Yippee!!

Now I can honestly say I’m starting to feel like I’m getting somewhere. That there might be something in this OP thing.  Can I possibly get the next two ‘Acts’ of my outline finished by sometime in mid-October. I should set a goal. If I set a goal, and tell you all about it. I’ll have a deadline to meet. Okay. Here goes:  My Goal is to Finish my Outline before the first day of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.

After that, I’ll be ready to start writing.

And if I start writing in late October, there’s just a small scintilla of hope I might even be able to get the actual ‘writing’ part of my novel done in the remaining 100 or so days remaining until this writing challenge is over on February 5th.

So that’s my goal, plot outline done by October 19th. After that, 1000 words a day. A 100,000 word novel by February 5th, 2013. Yikes! I better get writing.

But I haven’t answered your questions yet. I haven’t told you anything about my book (though I might have dropped the odd ‘hint’ here and there in this post). But you’ve been such Faithful Followers. We have almost 100 FB likes for our facebook page. At least as many ‘Followers’ on our blog.

You’ve been Very Patient. So I think a few hints about my book are in order. A little peek at some images I’ve been using in My Outline to visualize My Characters and My Plot.

Don’t get too excited, because for now, it’s just an Outline. By tomorrow, the Characters and Plot could change. That’s the Fun of an Outline. That’s the Fun of Plotting. You can throw things in, you an throw things out – the important thing is to keep Plotting away!

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