NaNoWriMo 2022 Day 17

Took today as another planning / prep day.

I started off with an hour in the afternoon filling out my chapter worksheet and scene worksheet for two chapters. These are really helpful, especially with some revisions I made recently, for planning the characters’ emotional reactions and honing in on what the heart of the scene is. I regret not following through on doing these for the earlier chapters between the opening and now, but I can commit to doing them now.

It goes so much easier when I outline at a beat level, so this evening I invested two pomodoros in thinking through the two chapters in closer detail. I started with a 200 word outline of kind of blocking, and once I wrote through the  The characters are having an important conversation that shifts the dynamic between them, and triggers an emotional reaction, so I needed to get it right.

I have a little bit of bridging outline to finish up for the second scene (I outlined the first chunk and second chunk, but didn’t quite figure out the transition). Then I’ll be set to write both chapters, which hopefully I can keep to 2k words each.


Using a comic style script as outline

Bookmarked Using Comic Scripts to Outline Your Fiction by J.D. Harlock (The Dream Foundry)

Recently, by dabbling in both comic book and short story writing, I’ve stumbled upon a method to outlining that not only cuts down on the number of drafts I need but streamlines my entire writing process.

Panels > beats

Write actual dialogue, establish setting, break scene into beats

This brings us to the underlying benefit of outlining with comic scripts: its emphasis on the action and descriptive cues in your story as opposed to excessive info-dumps.

Each panel maps out every needed story beat with both dialogue and description in a way that other script formats tend to gloss over in favor of a dialogue-centric approach. That’s why this outlining method works best with action-heavy narratives.

Could be worth trying but I could also see it being a distraction if you aren’t super familiar with comic scripts.


C.L. Polk’s Scene Outlining Process

Bookmarked Scene Outlines, Explained in Great Detail by C.L. Polk (

A scene is a unit of dramatic action. Emphasis on drama.

If more than one person in the scene has POV rights, I choose to tell the scene from the perspective of the person

  1. who has the most at stake,
  2. who has to make a decision that will propel the story forward,
  3. Who is more likely to remember this moment when they look back on it in ten years.
  • POV Character
  • Setting Location
  • Scene Action
  • POV Character’s Goal – “I make sure there’s a nice active (transitive) verb in the sentence. Character wants to VERB (character, object, situation.)”
  • POVC’s Motivation – “You can and should say why until you get to the root of what your character needs, and what getting it will mean to them. It should be connected to your POV character’s story goal…”
  • POVC’s Emotion
  • Complications and Conflict
  • POVC’s emotional shift – what’s at stake if they fail?
  • POVC’s response to the Complication
  • Result

Reverse Outlining to Gauge the Status of a Draft

Bookmarked A Visual Guide to a Reverse Outline by C.L. Polk (

107k Words. 76 Scenes. 16 Pages. What you’re looking at is an essential document for the complex operation that is transforming my first draft into a revised draft. It’s scary, isn&#821…

The color coding is a key – Green means the scene requires very little changing in order to fit in the first draft. Yellow means the scene is mostly ok but will definitely need tweaking for continuity and new details. Orange means the scene is probably going to change dramatically, but the bones will still be there. Red means this scene is headed for The Island of Misfit Words…