To Outline or Not To Outline

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Torley, Flickr Creative Commons

Part of the appeal of this project for me was learning to write in a more structured way. I usually just wing it, but not this time… To that end, I keep Googling things like “how to write a romance novel.” One of the top answers to that question comes from the PBS POV documentary Guilty Publishers. Romance novelist Gill Sanderson gives some tips on how to write a romance, and there seems to be a lot of outlining involved.

Considering I’ve already written a couple of chapters, I don’t think I can follow Gill’s advice to the letter, but I can take a step back and follow that first little piece of advice:

  • Write a hundred-word outline of your story. You can think about it for a week, but writing it will only take an afternoon. Establish hero and heroine, names (important!), jobs, characters. Set the time and place. Are you going to write sweet, passionate, mysterious, religious, supernatural? Decide. Last and most important, what is the problem that is keeping your hero and heroine apart?

So here it goes:

Audra Lane is starting over. Without a job–or her former fiance–and against the advice of her friends and family she makes the move to Standish Island off the coast of New England. Known for lobster and summer fun, Standish is home to a small but tight-knit community of year-round residents. With the tourists gone for the season, Audra plans to write a book without the distractions of the big city, but can’t seem to stay away from Caleb Cafferty–the handsome but sullen local who everyone keeps saying “has had a rough year.” Can Audra forget the betrayal of her fiance and help Caleb heal his own broken heart?

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