For today's blog post I wanted to talk all about outlining. Where I've been and where I am now. When I first started writing books about 4 years ago, I did not believe in outlining. I flew by the seat of my pants and hoped for the best. I did have a general sense of my plot and characters, but the details were not known before hand. I quickly realized that this was not a good approach for me. It was really difficult to put words on the page because there was no direction. I knew what I wanted to convey with my story, but I was unable to get there while free-writing. So I started doing some research. I read articles and blog posts and watched tons of YouTube videos about how to outline a book. My first attempt was minimal. I briefly outlined the chapters with a sentence or two, but I still refused to do any character outlining. When I went back to writing I felt a little bit of relief knowing what each chapter would entail, but my characters were all over the place. This went on for a while before I decided to put that manuscript to bed (for now) and worked on something else.
When I started on my epic fantasy series I took a long time developing the characters. I have character sheets for each person and I started out with an Act I, II, III outline method. Again, when I started writing the words flew by initially. I was super excited to work on this book because it had been on my mind for a long time. But then I kept getting stuck. Pretty soon it was like pulling teeth just to get the words on the page. So I went a semi-detailed outline. I printed everything out and kept it in a binder because that is what I had seen other people do on YouTube. However, when inspiration struck and I was ready to write I often left my materials at home while I was at school. I didn't remember exactly what I had down and would end up writing something that was completely off kilter with my original idea, which ultimately became detrimental to my story telling.
Then something happened...
I stopped watching the videos and reading the articles and simply reflected on my own writing process. What makes the most sense for me, my writing style, and my story. Once I was able to do that I realized that using a writing application where all my notes and outlining materials could be in one place. So I now use Scrivener (linked here) for all my writing. This way I can write whenever I want and wherever I want without having to tow around a bunch of different items. I also realized that I like to write a large paragraph outlining the major plot points of the book. From there I work on my main character sheets. Then I am ready to start outlining. I realized that my chapters need to be very detailed during the outlining process. So I not only write what I want to happen, but I also note major conversations that need to be had. Finally, I go back and fill in character sheets for my supporting characters as I write the outline.
This may not work for everyone, but my process is different from what I have seen out there and figured it might be worth sharing.
Kasia Amon is a master at hiding. Who—and what—she is makes her a mark for the entire supernatural world. Especially dragon shifters. To them, she’s treasure to be taken and claimed. A golden ticket to their highest throne. But she can’t stop bursting into flames, and there’s a sexy dragon shifter in town hunting for her...
As a rogue dragon, Brand Astarot has spent his life in the dark, shunned by his own kind, concealing his true identity. Only his dangerous reputation ensures his survival. Delivering a phoenix to the feared Blood King will bring him one step closer to the revenge he's waited centuries to take. No way is he letting the feisty beauty get away.
But when Kasia sparks a white-hot need in him that’s impossible to ignore, Brand begins to form a new plan: claim her for himself…and take back his birthright.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Ooooh lordy. Where do I even begin with this one. Let's just say that I was in the mood for a steamy paranormal romance and that is exactly what I got from The Rogue King. Our leading lady, Kasia, is quick witted and hard headed. A prized treasure among the dragon shifters, she has been running her entire life to avoid being captured and used as a pawn. During her evolution as a phoenix, she runs into Brand who just happens to be a rogue dragon shifter. Their lives intertwine when he realizes she could be the key to unlocking his ability to take the revenge he has been seeking for hundreds of years.
I have to say that this book is pretty well balanced regarding the development of a true relationship and hot sexy time scenes. It definitely isn't riddled with sex, but the undertones flow nicely if you are looking for a story that will keep you on the edge. In my opinion, Abigail does a great job at showing the world she created instead of telling. Things are revealed to the reader at perfect moments. I never felt overwhelmed with world facts. The Rogue King has a very engaging twist for a paranormal book. I really like the idea of dragon shifters and multiple types of animals shifters. Abigail also had interesting ideas of how the paranormal world is shielded from the mortal world.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The only reason I took off half a star is because Abigail introduces the idea of "mates" to the reader. However, based on some of the behaviors of those who were mated, things didn't always add up. For example, when two people are mates they have a more direct line of communication to each other. She only used this line of communication when it was convenient to progress her storyline.