Season 2, Episode 13: Looking at the Inside Outline Upside Down

In this episode

This week Abby looks at her Inside Outline (aka the Two-Tier Outline) from a different perspective. She looks at it upside down. Or maybe it's inside out? ;-)

But first...

Abby, the 3rd grade Room Mom, missed the class Halloween party (which, in her defense, was NOT scheduled on Halloween but an entire week before…). She received a text from the teacher while we were recording, asking where she was! And since the big party activity was Abby teaching the kids how to draw a haunted house on scratchboards, the teacher moved the date of the party on the fly!

Can we say #momfail?

Then to compound that, Abby realized she didn’t read her edits before she hit the record button!

Can we say #writerfail?

Kemlo breaks the news that she wants Abby to work on her outline one more time. It’s not a surprise, seeing as Abby really doesn’t have things together this week, on or off the page!

She’s struggling with chapter endings and beginnings, and her Two-Tier outline reflects that. (a.k.a the Inside Outline, for those of you who are keeping up with our rebranding efforts.) The outline makes it really obvious that she’s going to struggle with that when it comes time to write. Abby is changing up the structure of her story in the second draft, and the outline shows the arc of change in each scene, but it also shows the lack of arc for each chapter. So Kemlo is trying to help her fix that before she struggles with it later.

They talk about chapter length and story flow, and Kemlo points out it’s not the overall flow that’s not working, but what’s off is where Abby puts the breaks.

The ladies also talk Abby into putting a giant TK on the quotes at the beginning of her chapters, because it’s a mental roadblock in Abby’s writing.

Kemlo breaks down the flow within a chapter, and Abby brings up Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid method of analyzing a chapter. (By the way, she uses the word “shortcut” when she really means the word “shorthand.”) Abby’s description of the positive to double positive, etc… that Story Grid lays out really throws Kemlo, and they spend some time dissecting it.

All this brings Abby to the conclusion that she wants to work her Two-Tier Outline (a.k.a. the Inside Outline) differently… She wants to break her outline apart and look at the flow on both the scene and emotional levels independently. That way she can see that there is a logic to the emotional change and that one emotional-plot-point truly leads to the next. And the same on the actual plot level. This thing that happens would actually lead to the next thing. And if there’s a hitch in either of those two trajectories, then that’s where she needs to go back and do some work.

Tune in next episode to see how it worked out for her!

And if you're interested in coming to Maine in September for a writer's retreat focusing on the Inside Outline (where you can work with Jennie and Kemlo, as well as meet up with Melanie and Abby), you can find more info here:

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