Taking My Own Advice

At the conference I attended on Saturday with Reyna Grande, Lara Rios and Malin Alegria to encourage local area Latina teens to go to college and do all sorts of great stuff, more than one young lady asked how a person goes about writing a book.

Lara said she just sits down, writes what comes to her and lets the story unfold (also known as a panster, as in writing by the seat of ones pants) and I said I do outlines. The teens grimaced because outlines are a pain in the pants area. I'm a big proponent of outlining the whole book (as you know it at the time) and writing your chapters based on that, then tweaking the outline to include, move around or delete chapters as necessary. It saves so much time, trouble and keeps you from sitting in front of your computer (or Dana) with nothing to tickle out inspiration. Plus you have have a pretty good idea of what happens when and what should be happening where without having to scroll through hundreds of pages and thousands of words. Outlines are handy!

The thing is, I've gotten 37,676 words into the manuscript still known as Book 2 without writing one. Gasp! I'm a hypocrite! Or was because, yes, I've sat down an outlined what I've written so far and won't be writing anything new until I finish the rest of it. And then the days of typing that are ahead of me will be accompanied by chirping birds, friendly rabbits and woodchucks while I sit with a big bow in my hair and healthy color in my cheeks. And all because I still remember some of what my 10th grade English teacher taught me. Thank you, LAUSD for that and typing class. They changed my life, for reals.

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