Monday, September 22, 2014

Organizing your writing - Backwards outlining

How I organize my WIP...

Today I thought we could talk about one of my favorite subjects... Organizing.  A long, long time ago, I used to own my own cleaning/organizing business. I would get a tad giddy when my customers asked me to organize their storage areas. I know, weird right, but I loved it! 

It seemed only natural to carry it over into my writing.  

I discovered that my brain is a lot like a messy storage area. When I first started writing, I feverishly flew by the seat of my pants and wrote what every sprang from my thick skull, throwing away half of what I wrote in revisions or plotting errors. Once I finished, I outlined my book into chapters/scenes until I had a tidy spreadsheet. But I still thought there has to be a better way.

Epiphany--- Why didn't I organize my writing like I organized a room. I knew where I wanted everything to go, I knew the last scene. I knew what each character thought. *Head Slap - Why didn't I think of this sooner. Backwards Outline. I did a google search, and of course I wasn't the first one to think of this. Here K.M. Weiland talks about just this thing! Why couldn't I be the first, darn it. But I sure would apply it!

So I set out on my quest, Okay, it wasn't much of a quest but it sure was fun. 

  1. Know your ending -  Get a general idea of how your story will end.  For me this was easy. I already saw it in my head. Don't worry too much about getting it perfect, because in step 4 you'll be writing it out.
  2. Ask yourself questions -  How did they get to this point? Which characters were involved? Who did what, to whom? What happened and why did it happen? 
  3. Know your key players - For me, I had already written a few chapters, so I knew which characters I was going to use. But in the midst of it all, other characters emerged to help me get to the ending point. 
  4. Write the last scene - Roughly write it out. Don't obsess about the detail at this point, just get the idea on paper. 
  5. Next, OUTLINE.  Start from the last scene and work your way backwards until you get to the very beginning of the story. For me that meant a post it note for each chapter.
  6. Switch it around, organize your outline from beginning to end, until it flows. Surprisingly, even my sub-plots supported the end.
  7. Now the exciting part... Write, Write, Write. 
Will things stay the same as your original outline, probably not, but it does give you a broad-stroke plan to achieve your goal, a finished book. 

Good luck and go forth and Write!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cover reveal for Renee Donne's HUNTER

I am so thrilled to be part of the Surge Team at Anaiah Press, AND to reveal Renee Donne's cover for her new book, HUNTER!  I can't wait to read it!  Everyone check it out!


Moving across the country isn’t Hunter’s ideal start to her Junior year of high school. She has no friends to hang out with, no beaches to lounge on, and she’s living just a few miles from the secluded hiking trail where her father died when she was a baby.
Living in Wyoming isn’t all bad, though, thanks to Logan, the handsome veterinary assistant at the animal clinic where she lands an after school job. And he seems just as interested in her as she is in him.

As Hunter begins to settle into her new home, she learns more about the circumstances surrounding her father’s tragic death, and it may not have been the accident everyone believes. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, and Hunter might be the next victim.

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Renee Donne is a native Floridian with a penchant for writing books with a western theme. In her head she's a world traveler and an amateur chef. In real life, she's a hometown girl with an affinity for fine wine and good friends. Her favorite place to write is sitting on her veranda, overlooking the beach.

You can find Renee Donne at:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Nasty Habits!

Now that I'm finishing up my content edits, for The Last Stored. Wow wee, does it rock! I can't wait to get it out there!

Currently, I am dusting off my work-in-progress, I'm calling it The Swinging Tree. It is 4/5's of the way done. I still need to close up some plot holes, and add a few scenes here and there.

Since I've been editing for the past few months. I've learned an astounding amount of information. At times I thumped my head against my desk, or drooled on my page. BUT, I'm going to apply what I've learned.  Or at least I'll try!

All of us authors have bad habits, if you say you don't then you're probably lying.  So in an effort to be transparent I'll lay out mine!

  1. Eliminate Overused words! We all have them.  I even have  a list: Did, wells up, crisp, remains, surrounds me, reveals (plus many more I've probably forgotten). And I'm pretty sure I'll dig up some new words for my WIP.  
  2. Passive Voice- Sometimes a passive voice is okay because it just fits, but it is more exciting to the reader to live in the moment!  So what are some things to look for to clue you in that you're stuck in passive voice?  Words like, be, am, is, are, was... Reword the sentence, or even cut. Keep it clear, keep it safe... wait that's talking about something else, but you get the idea.
  3. I've been known to use 'as' wrong, oh and I really like the phrase as if when I really should be using like.  Check out Clifford Garstang's tips for writers! Excellent. 
  4. And lastly, have your characters interact with their environment.  Ground them in the scene, give them something to do. Keep it lively, I'm not going to lie, I've been known to act out the scenes. I've fought many a Moriavis, or fallen from a tower.  
It's time for me to get busy, and get to work. Someone once said, "if we never made a mistake, we'd never learn."  So I'm keeping a running list of my stumbling blocks handy. 

Do you have any issues?  What are they?