The Power Of The Outline: Preparing For JuNoWriMo

The first time I wrote with an outline was roughly six weeks ago in the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo. I found that it made my productivity soar and provided me with an ease in writing that I had never before experienced. So it was a given that I would use one again next month in JuNoWriMo. 

I don’t even have a title for my story yet, but I’m already growing more excited by the moment as I outline a very flexible rough sketch of what I want to put into my story. Long after I laid down the pencil and notepad, I kept thinking about the plot and my characters, developing even more when I was away from the actual process. When I outline, I like to think of it as a road map that directs me every day but still allows for side trips. During April, the story developed so organically with the outline that I revised it about four times over the course of the month. 

I’m curious to hear about how you create your outlines and the advantages they provide you! Don’t forget to check out JuNoWriMo at!


Preparing for JuNoWriMo!

I’m finally drawing my second novel, entitled Keeping Light, to a close later this month. Then I’m up for a brand new creative adventure called JuNoWriMo! It’s just like NaNoWriMo, as I mentioned in my previous post, where participants strive to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That means writing 1,667 words a day, which I have learned can be very doable!

My premise for a new story is sketchy so far, but involves an eighteen-year-old young woman who moves to an island to attend college and lives with her visually impaired older sister who writes mystery novels. There are mysteries and secrets from the past on the island, perhaps involving the sisters and their family, draws them closer together as they seek the truth.

The biggest improvement I discovered in the April Camp NaNoWriMo session was the importance of an outline. I used a flexible outline that I often changed to reflect ideas that came to me in the process of creating the story. As I finish, I can already tell that improving the characterization of each individual will be my biggest editing challenge. I want readers to know these characters and their motivations. This seems especially important in the science fiction genre into which Keeping Light falls. While it is set on planets different from our own with characters of slightly different origins, I want to be able to understand them as if they lived next door. I always tell myself that if the story is interesting for me to write, it will be hopefully interesting to readers. The opposite is also true. If I find myself growing weary of a storyline or character as I write, I don’t expect readers to have a different experience than my own.

Pictures can really inspire my writing. To create Keeping Light, I used a lot of pictures of stars, space and beaches to put my characters into their environments. 

JuNoWriMo… Join In On The Excitement!

Just a few days ago, as Camp NaNoWriMo April 2015 was winding down, I made a fantastic discovery while browsing Twitter: JuNoWriMo!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with JuNoWriMo, it’s a month long writing adventure in the style of NaNoWriMo, complete with word sprints and plenty of other writers to cheer you on. The goal is to write 50,000 in one month (1,667 words a day). You can write whatever you want. Fiction, non-fiction, the final 50k to something you started five years ago. Anything. We’d love to have you write with us!

You can sign up at and begin your prewriting adventures now, sign up for giveaways and meet other participants. 

I am planning to do both JuNoWriMo and the July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo, which I feel will be a great extended summer writing season. I hope you join me!