Season 2, Episode 14: #ioutlinesohard

On this episode of Mom Writes… Abby goes above and beyond in a Sudafed-induced writing frenzy, turning in ALL the pages and a brand-new inside-outside (formerly two-tier) outline. With this new, revised version, Abby feels she’s got a real handle on her story.

If we refer back to Ep 71 of the podcast, Abby thought she’d convinced Jennie that her original outline was meant for multiple books. Now, with this recent version, Abby assumes it’s back one book again, but Kemlo says, “Wait! There’s a lot more here.” There’s a whole bunch of material to explore, and there’s just not room for it all in one manuscript. It’s great news, but how do we break this up into multiple books?

Once Abby has her new outline done and worked out how her protagonist’s journey can come full circle for this book, she thinks there’s actually four story ideas to explore. For book two, Abby’s got to figure out which of Bernadette’s problems to tackle next.

The key, according to Kemlo, is solving these problems with the story, not the plot. When you solve problems with plot, you end up with something predictable and generic and rarely applicable to the characters in your book. Why are your plot elements problems for your particular characters? How and why are these challenges going to make them change?

At the end of each book, Bernadette (and potentially secondary characters as well) has to come away with a new understanding of the problem she faced at the beginning of the story; she has to be changed in some meaningful way for the book to have impact on Abby’s readership.

Ralph S. Mouse is a beloved character in Abby’s draft and the first clue to her reader that something is amiss in Bernadette’s world. Abby decides to bring in this magical aspect from the very first page with her new introduction of Ralph. Not only will Abby’s plan for Ralph and Bernadette move the story forward in what Bernadette learns about herself and friendship, but it brings the “book world” and the “normal world” in contact with each other from the beginning – a way to pick up the pacing of what Abby fears were a slow first few chapters.

Next, Abby’s going to write forward with the new knowledge of how and when she’s ending her book and continue to revise her draft with this new information in mind.

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