Instead of sitting and writing word after word and dealing with chapters and all that fluff later, I wrote chapter by chapter in order. I didn't elaborate or add much. I just wrote the chapters that impacted the story the most and the big things that needed to happen. I did a lot of dialogue so I learned characters and what they were like. I just wrote what needed to happen to move the story forward.
Then I printed each chapter at a time as I wrote them.
This may sound stupid and like a waste of paper but I can assure you, it was not. Once I finished the book, I had a first draft in my hands. It was bare and a skeleton but I had probably a good 100,000 words which is pretty dang good.
Why is this good?
Well, after I had the finished book, I let it simmer. I went back to another project and edited that. Two weeks ago I was ready to go back to this book. But guess what, I had written words and nothing in my computer to show for it (like I wanted).
So I went chapter by chapter and typed them into scrivener. Now, this may seem like a pain in the butt but I promise it's not. The reason this is so awesome, albeit time consuming, is that as I wrote the chapters in, I added and noted where more needed to be or where a new chapter should be added. I was able to start editing while re-learning the book and adding and fixing it up.
So today, I finished putting the book into scrivener. And I love what's happened by outlining and writing this way. My book is much stronger and there were even parts where I was like, "wait, I wrote that?" Then of course there were the parts where I was bawling like I was reading the book and I love that. I got to feel the emotions as if I was a reader.
Plus I got my first round of editing and marking up done. How awesome is that?
I would definitely do it again. Probably not for a Curse Book because those need to be done a certain way and I have to follow the outline strictly. But because this was a standalone novel and I could do whatever I wanted with it. Just writing chapter by chapter as I think of it worked and made the writing process much faster. I wrote the book in under three weeks which is INSANE. Although is was bare, I had a beginning, middle and end. I knew what happened in the book. I knew the characters and it was completely finished.
It may seem time consuming to write a chapter, print it and then delete it. But it's not. Because afterwards while writing into the computer and saving, you're killing multiple birds.
Now that I have the manuscript saved and outlined with more descriptions and info in there, I can add where I need to and edit more thoroughly. I can fix it up so it's ready. If you haven't already guessed, A Reliant Love is the book I'm talking about here. I'm obsessed with it and love what it's turning into. And I think the way I wrote it has a lot to do with that.
One more thing I like.... While writing, because you're deleting and printing, I never knew the word count. I didn't worry that it had to be a length that was appropriate or anything. I simply wrote to write. And I think this helped because I wrote the longest first draft ever and possibly my longest manuscript. And not once did I care what the length was.
So I recommend this outlining and writing technique if you have a book where you have the full reins. It doesn't matter where it goes. You have an idea and you just want to roll with it. You have a vision and want to see where it goes. Don't mistake this for a sloppy plot and holes. It's just that a standalone gives you more freedom to do whatever you want. Isn't that what's so fun about it?
Complete creative freedom.