Writing a novel (or a narrative memoir) is an intellectual feat akin to spinning multiple plates in the air without letting them crash to the ground. It involves creating on the sentence level and conceiving on the whole-book level—and anyone who’s ever done it knows how hard that can be. You have to keep your story moving and also make sure your character motivations and actions are clear and logical, all while thinking of the balance between scene and summary, POV, and that elusive quality of voice. That’s why many people rely on outlines as a way to hang their story on a framework that makes sense to them. But that kind of outline isn’t for everyone. It can feel stifling to creativity because everything is planned out by the beat. What if you could get that big picture of your book in a way that still gives plenty of scope for the remarkable things that happen on the page when you’re in the zone? Something that’s more like a guideline than a set-in-stone rulebook? That’s the magic—and power—of the “Inside Outline”.
In this workshop, Dunlap will get you started on your own “Inside Outline”, which can help you at any point in your process. It’s useful for thinking through the story before you write, for getting you out of a stuck spot in the middle, and for gearing up to see what you need to do in a revision or rewrite. Writers of any level can benefit from this tool. Dunlap will start with a brief presentation and explanation, then the class will break into small groups while you do the first part of your outlines. The class will come together to share and talk about the challenges, then break for lunch. Afterwards, you’ll have more time to either continue or revise your work from the morning, and in the last hour, Dunlap will live coach three volunteers. Once you get the hang of this versatile tool, you’ll be able to use it not just on the whole-book level, but even to map out scenes you’re having problems with. And the best part of the “Inside Outline” is that it’s a working document that you can change as things change while you’re writing forward.