It’s hard going back to your outline when you’re two drafts into a project, but that’s what I had to do. Before NaNoWriMo, I made an outline. Unfortunately for me, that outline was terrible. I didn’t spend all of October prepping, which I should have. I really do need a solid outline with a good plan to stay motivated with my story. I also can’t take too long of a break or else I just forget why I wanted to write this story in the first place. I did actually win NaNoWriMo for the second time in my life this past November, which also happens to be the seventh year I participated. As you can tell, my record isn’t great. I didn’t have much faith going into it, but I’m more than happy to prove myself wrong. In the case, it might not have been the best course of action for me.
I cared more about winning than writing a workable first draft. I wish I had taken my time rather than rushing to finish the first draft. It’s put me in a terrible position; however, I have treated my first draft as a sort of outline. I sort of did the same thing with the second draft. I’m calling my current draft 2.5 because I’ve refined what I want my story to be from the second draft. I am thankful for the past two drafts because they have taught me what I’m doing well and what I need to improve. I really like the world that I’ve built. I cannot say the same for my characterization. I do focus more on plot and building the world, but I shouldn’t ignore characterization. That’s something I’m going to look out for in the upcoming draft.
I draft using the Hero’s Journey method, and I highly recommend using some variant of it. It’s similar to the three-act structure. Both are great ways to organize and outline your novel. First, I like to come up with the general plot. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I would describe the general plot as Voldemort trying to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone. Figuring out my general plot is one of my most important steps. Before I even begin to outline, I like to determine what the stakes are.
My goal is to apply for the next round for Author Mentor Match. Not only is it a great opportunity but it also gives me a timeline to finish my next draft. Submissions are open from March 1-6, and I don’t want to miss my chance. I’ve wanted to apply for the past year, but I’ve never had a manuscript ready. I’m trying to finish my outline before February, which would give me all of February to write my next draft. It doesn’t actually take a long time to write, but it does take a long time to prep. I think I’ve certainly learned my lesson for the future. Let me know if you have any drafting tips. I want to know what methods you use to draft or what tools.