Take Your Time And Outline
By Emily Wibberley
I’ve noticed a trend among writers when it comes to daily word counts. Increasingly, everywhere I turn, I find writers talking about, writing about and obsessing about the number of words they get on the page each and every day. Like most trends, there is a something very worthwhile in this pursuit. Any technique that helps writers stay motivated and finish projects should be embraced. Every day, writers are expected to sit down and put down words. Those who are self-published are expected to have new releases multiple times a year. It’s an exhausting and punishing work schedule, and any writer who can find a way to write an entire book in a matter of weeks deserves a medal and a boatload of sales.
I’ve fallen into the trend myself. Every day, I task myself with 2,000 words. It’s not easy for me, and I know my 2,000 doesn’t compare to those writing 5,000 or 10,000 a day, but still, it’s a strict work schedule, and it keeps me with a steady level of output. Without my daily goals, it would be all too easy to fall into over-thinking traps and internet distractions. I’m a big proponent of reasonable but strict goals. I wouldn’t have nearly 4 complete novels in just over a year without it.
However, I think the obsession with word counts makes it easy for writers to forget what I believe is the most important part of the writing process: the outline. Word-count goals only mean something—are only useful—if you’re working from a finished outline. I’m not speaking of a general framework of the novel. I’m talking about a fleshed-out rendering of every scene, every reversal, every moment of character growth. Let’s be honest, no one sticks to their outline. But it doesn’t matter. If you’re going to write every day, you need to know what you’re writing before you sit down. Follow inspiration as it comes, but never sit down with a goal of 2,000 words not knowing what is going to happen in the day’s scene. I can tell you from personal experience, writing to a word count without an outline can easily result in a big editing headache later.
Put time into the outline. Don’t rush. Don’t feel like you have to keep up with a monster word count goal. When you’re happy with the outline, then make a goal, join the movement and finish the book.
Emily Wibberley grew up in the South Bay where she spent her formative years battling zombies on her Xbox, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and voraciously reading everything from The Hunger Games to Jane Austen, where her love for feisty young heroines was born.
After graduating from Princeton University Magna Cum Laude in 2014, she began writing. Her debut novel, Sacrificed, was named a finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards, in the Young Author category of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and in the 2015 International Book Awards. Since its release, Sacrificed has spent more than four months as a Kindle Top Ten Teen and Young Adult Bestseller.
When she isn’t reading the latest YA book, she enjoys watching kick-butt action movies with her two rescue German Shepherds, Hudson and Bishop, named after characters from James Cameron’s Aliens.
Visit her website at www.emilywibberley.com and sign up for her mailing list to hear about giveaways and news about the more books in The Last Oracle Series as well as other YA books Emily’s working on.
Sacrificed (The Last Oracle #1)
Born to serve the merciless Oracle, Clio wants nothing more than to break free. But when her entire family is murdered by Mannix, the king’s adviser, Clio inherits the Oracle’s power, a power she never wanted and doesn’t understand.
Hunted by Mannix, Clio is forced to flee her home in Sheehan and seek refuge in a foreign city where oracles are forbidden. If she’s found out, she will be sacrificed atop its great pyramid.
Clio has no choice but to win the trust of Riece, an enemy warrior. Despite the undeniable attraction between them, Clio knows that if he finds out who she really is, he won’t hesitate to execute her.
Clio tries to hide her budding powers, but the Visions she keeps having of Mannix and his barbarian army slaughtering her people torture her conscience. She alone has the strength and foresight to stop him, but only if she can embrace her destiny and sacrifice everything.
Thank you Emily for sharing your wise words of wisdom! I’m such a pantser that sometimes I forget how important outlining is to a story. However, I’m almost positive that most of my friends are huge outliners! Even a little bit of advice like this can go a very long way. Thank you!
As always, a huge thank you to everyone who has been, will be, and is a part of this feature. You’re helping so many writers achieve their goals every day. We couldn’t be more happy to have you all here to talk with and share advice.
We hope your week is going well!