The Pros and Cons of an Outline

6789978-book-and-pencilsIt’s finally November! Aka National Novel Writing Month. Since I am currently working on my sixth book already(before November started) I won’t be participating in the writing a book in a month’s time challenge. I’m still in the write a book before the year’s over challenge which apparently I’m struggling with…

Anyway, Outlines!

I recently just started using outlines in a totally different way before thanks to James Patterson’s Master Class on writing. Wonderful tip about outlining by chapter with details as opposed to my old way which was just bullet points of what’s going to happen. His way is much better because it always you to structure your chapter in ways that you can ensure your readers are going to want to read the next chapter and then the next. So on…

I put this method into action and of course I loved it!

But then I got to thinking…

Like with all things there are pros and cons and I want really look at the pros and cons of writing an outline before you write. Here’s what I came up with:


1. Direction

  • Sometimes you just don’t know where you story is headed, but one pro of the outline is that you can see your story and the direction it’s heading in. This will allow you to create a clear path.


2. See Faults and Gems

  • You’ll be able to spot what works or doesn’t work in your story before you start writing and change it.

3. Save time

  • This goes with point #2 because when you spot things that doesn’t work out, you can save time by fixing it in your outline before writing.

4. Perfect for planners

  • Some people like to plan and some like to write without planning so if you’re a planner outlining is perfect for you!


1. Prohibit Creativity

  • Sometimes if your outline is too detailed you may fill like you can’t any wiggle room to create or change things without having to redo the outline.

2. None preferable for some

  • Some people don’t like to plan when they write and prefer to just let the story carry them where it wants to carry them, so outlining wouldn’t be very helpful in this case.

3. Extra Step

  • Creating an outline would be an extra step in your writing that could take from 30 minutes to days to perfect. This can slow down getting your book written, but for others it’s an important step not to pass up.

Bottom line:

It’s really up to you whether to use an outline, but for me I find it very, very useful because it gets the idea from my head and on to paper. It’s a way that I can assure my story makes sense and not something crazy that my brains made up.

I recommend trying to outline. If you need help, check out my post How to Outline A Novel then get started. Thanks for reading and happy writing!

Do you outline? Share your thoughts about outlines in the comments below.

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5 Quick Ways To Finish Your First Draft

Sometimes I feel like the rough draft is the longest stage in the writing-a-book process. It’s all brand new stuff that’s trying to get out of my head at once. Then I realize that sooner I can get the first draft out, the sooner the revision process can begin.

But that draft has to be done first.

  1. Close your eyes and type.

You’d be surprised how far closing your eyes can help you picture the scene in your head, be in the character’s mind, or open your creativity. Blocking out the distraction of the outside world around you, even for a few minutes can spark new eyes, push your story out and really make you focus on your story. I dare you to try it the next time you’re sitting down and stuck on words.3121066506_bd0b6795f1_m

2. Create a detailed outline

What really helps me write faster is to create a chapter outline so I know what to write in that particular chapter. I’ll know how to start the chapter and how to end it. That way I won’t ramble on about nothing without getting to the point. The less fluff a story has the better!

3. Get excited

Passion in your writing is going to be the main thing that’s going to propel you to write fast. If you’re excited about a scene or chapter than you’re more likely to write faster. The trick is to have this level of passion and excitement throughout your whole story. If you’re bored, then your readers are definitely going to be bored, too.

4. Get out the house

Sometimes it’s hard to work in the same place you eat, sleep, and goof off. Try getting out the house to write and go to places like the library, coffee shop, or any place that’s just for work. This can also help block out at home distractions.

5. Set the timer and race

My favorite thing to do when I really want to up my word count is to see if I can write a thousand words in an hour. That’s 500 words in 30 minutes and 250 words every 15 minutes. This forces you to get in the zone and once you’re in the zone you just keep typing. I’ve actually done this with a 1500/hour goal and still win! It’s very fun so try it the next time because it also helps build up your writing speed.2746117951_ba77914e86_m

Well, that’s my five quick tips on how you can get your first draft done and out of the way so you can start editing. Maybe even write 2nd and 3rd drafts! I wish you luck.

Tell me what you do to write faster down in the comments. What’s one thing that stops you from writing your first draft? Let me know below!

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You Don’t Need an English Degree To Be A Writer

IMG_0129I recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Spring 2015 and while I was in college I wrote 5 books. But see, I didn’t need my English degree to do it.


The world of publishing has long changed. Now, you don’t need to have a publisher publish your book for you in order for you to find readers and make money. Nope. With the invention of e-readers and digital downloads anyone can write their novel and put it up for sale through amazon’s KDP (kindle direct publishing) and Barnes and Noble’s NookPress, as well as Kobo, ibooks and the like.

Those platforms aways you to publish what you’ve written to earn a profit and that’s exactly what I did. Now, a degree in English does have benefits. I know now when I’m breaking grammar rules and when I’m not. But in fiction, you don’t need to follow all the rules. Some people break rules for emphasis such as having a one word sentence or using passive voice. These things go to the writer’s own personal style.

But I didn’t need a degree to break the rules. Now I just know that I did.

My advice?

Learn all you can about writing. All that you want. You can never underestimate the power of knowledge from people who may be able to teach you something different. But don’t let a lack of a degree stop you from finishing your book. You don’t have to wait until you’ve so-called “proven yourself” to put that book out there.

Remember: Pauses like that will only hold you back. And trust me, people with degree still make mistakes so there’s never really a so-called perfect time to do accomplish your goals. Now would be most ideal.

Happy writing,


Ex-Player is now Available

Ex-player6After many, many months of what felt like blood sweat and tears I’ve finally released the sequel to my four book series, Ex-Player. It’s actually has been out since mid March but since I haven’t blogged for a while so it’s the latest news.  :)

Here is the synopsis:

What happens when a notorious player suddenly goes off the market? For ex player, Malcolm, trying to become a good, one woman man for his beautiful girlfriend Kayla is turning out to be harder than he ever expected. The thing is, the hoes keep coming whether he’s single or not. The past is not easily forgotten and old habits are hard to break. When old flings come knocking at his door and new women introduce themselves, will he have enough willpower to resist temptation or will his player instincts kick in and end up turning his life back to where he started, alone and single?

One thing’s for sure: It’s easy to say you’re good, but it’s hard as hell to stay that way.

Ex-Player is a stunning novella based off the Jaylen and Jessica series that will take you through every emotion and leave you feeling excited, warm, and thankful for the people in your life. Download this book today and enjoy.

Not bad, eh?

lol. If you’re interested, you can check out this book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble now and it will be available soon at Kobo.  Thanks again!

Creating A Round Character (Video)

In this video, I talk about what factors contribute to having a round and more in-depth character. The tips I point out include

1. Faults and “talents”

2. Background

3.Dialogue, tone, and mannerisms

4. Education

and 5. goals and motivation

I als briefly discuss what makes a story a story and how characters can drive an entire novel if you have a character that’s fully developed. Take a listen.

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