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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

11 Aprilynne Pike: Outlines

You just have to love Aprilynne Pike. Not only is she the #1 NYT Bestselling author of WINGS, SPELLS, and the upcoming ILLUSIONS, but she's down to earth, with a dry wit and an excellent sense of who she is, where she's going, and what she needs to do to get there. She's humble, ever trying to improve, and willing to share what she knows with those of us who haven't "made it" yet. She was my bootcamp instructor at LDStorymakers in 2010 and she completely tore my pitiful chapters to bits. It was awesome. So is she.

Tonight, Aprilynne taught us how to create a simple outline. Here's the basics:

  1. Draw a big timeline long enough for 60 ticks.
  2. Mark a tick about 5 ticks from the beginning for your inciting incident: 
    • This should fall within the first ten pages of your book
    • This is where your plot is set in motion
  3. Mark a tick about 5 ticks from the end for the climax (where everything goes boom)
  4. Around 25% from the start (with 60 ticks that's... carry the 1... 15 ticks) is your first Turning Point
    • This is where everything goes in a different direction
    • Harry discovers he's a wizard, Bella discovers Edward is a vampire, Marly appears to Ebeneezer
  5. Around 75% from the start (calculating... 45 ticks) is your second Turning Point
    • Once again, everything changes
    • Main suspect is murdered, Darth Vader is Luke's father?, Westley stops being mostly dead
  6. Fill in the rest with plot points--one per tick
    • Plot points drive the plot--they are interesting and active
    • Romeo goes on vacation is NOT a plot point
    • Romeo leaves town hours before the letter reaches him IS a plot point
    • Baby has green eyes is NOT a plot point
    • Detective realizes green-eyed baby can't come from brown eyed parents IS a plot point
Aprilynne also gave us a lot of advice on how to be a discovery writer ("pantser") AND use an outline (plan the main ticks and discovery write the rest), how to make sure your book has enough emotion, and how to deal with love triangles. Plus, we talked a bit about her books. :) (Did I mention ILLUSIONS  is coming out on May 3?)

Listen to it here:

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  1. Thanks, Aprilynne Pike, for an entertaining and informative conference call.

    And thanks, Robin, for the call and especially for the notes on what was discussed. I'm usually herding kids, cleaning bathrooms, filing, and doing laundry while I'm listening and learning. Having your clear and concise notes to work from the next morning when I get the hubby and kids out the door is incredibly helpful. Much better than my random scrap paper jots.

    I appreciate it. :)

  2. You are very welcome, Regina. It helps that I have the call outline at hand when I write the blog post. :)

  3. I found this session extremely helpful. Pacing and plotting are my enemy and this outline system Aprilynne spoke about was like the clouds parted and the angels began to sing the hallelujah chorus. Many thank yous to Aprilynne for sharing such beneficial information and also to you, Robin for asking wonderful questions.
    Also huge THANK YOU to Dave Farland for starting this blog, I've downloaded almost every call and have been listening to them one by one. It's like taking online writing classes. As an aspiring author, this site was like discovering a pot of gold. THANK YOU!!!

  4. I'm just going to echo Melania on how cool Dave and Aprilynne are. :) They--and the rest of our guests--are a newbie writer's dream come true.

  5. Dave is a tremendously generous man. He offers his time and knowledge and encouragement to others tirelessly. I learned a lot from his Writer's Death Camp and continue to benefit from his newsletter Dave's Daily Kick in the Pants.

    It's not much, but as a sign of my appreciation I've listed this site on my blog and try to alert my RWA chapter members of upcoming conference calls.

  6. It sucks so much that I only found this site today. I really wish I had been here for Aprilynne's interview. Aprilynne! You've given me some great advice, and just so you know, when I'm rich and famous, I will totally give you some props, girl. Thanks!

  7. This was a fantastic interview--so helpful. Thanks for doing these interviews and posting them for me to listen to later. I really appreciate all the time and effort you are all putting in to help us newbies.

  8. You are very welcome, Kate. Except for Dave, we're mostly newbies, ourselves, so we're happy to share the joy.

    Isn't Aprilynne wonderful? I just got to spend the day with her and love her SOO much!


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