How We Use Fence Posts to Plan Our Writing


Today is an exciting day as we begin outlining Decisions, The Catalyst Series Book 2. Yay! 

I will admit, though, that I hate to use the word outline, because today we will not be determining every single thing that will happen in every single scene. In fact, we won’t even know how many scenes we will have, or what they will be, until the book is done. 

We are not defining our characters or creating extensive character profiles. In fact, we may even have new characters pop up along the way that we never dreamed of. This is what makes writing so much fun. It’s the discovery process as you go along. You never know who’s going to pop up in your book. Or who’s going to start out as the sweet girl next door and turn into the meanest, nastiest villain you could imagine. 

What we do instead is determine what I like to call our “fence posts.” We determine 9 definitive parts of the story, 9 fence posts - the hook, the inciting event, the key event, the first plot point, the second plot point, the third plot point, the turning point, the climax, and the resolution. Once these are in place, we let the story take us where it wants to go. The important thing is that we make a stop at each post along the way. This is what keeps us on track, rather than allowing us to veer too far away from the overall story. Especially when there are two of us writing the story — it would be very easy to travel in a completely different direction without some guidance. 

In book 1, we made it to each predetermined fence post, but along the way so many things happened we hadn’t planned or even considered. Ethel turned into a character we never initially intended her to be. Mae — she is as far away from our initial image of her as one can get. In fact, she was put into the story to take orders at the diner — period — but as you’ll see when you read the book, she became much more than that.  And Billy was never even a blip on our radar. But without them, the story wouldn’t be what it is. If we had done extensive outlining and character profiles, then creativity would never have had a chance to take hold and mould these characters into who they are today. 

We’ve been away from the writing process now for a few weeks, busy with editing and polishing, but now that book 1 is with betas, we can finally get back to what we love to do most — writing!