Right now I am in the midst of May Days in October, one of the two times a year I get together with some other writers on Facebook and set aside some time to work on something specific. You might call it binge writing.
One of the things I'm doing this time around is using the blueprinting method I learned about from Wendy Maas at a NESCBWI conference workshop in 2016. What it does is help generate material. I don't use this anywhere near enough. If I did, this particular never-ending project I've been working on for three years might be in my rearview mirror. I'm finding it very helpful right now. In addition to revising two chapters during the last ten days, I've blueprinted two new ones. I might stick to the blueprinting and get the rest of this book worked out this month.
If You're Doing NaNoWriMo You Might Want To Try Blueprinting
National Novel Writing Month is just a couple of weeks away. Writing a 50,000 word manuscript in one month is a lot easier if you know what you're going to write. Blueprinting can help you with that.
As part of my Original Content 20th anniversary observance and to offer a helping hand for anyone prepping for NaNoWriMo I am republishing a blog post on blueprinting, which includes a link to an article Wendy Maas wrote on the subject.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Time Management Tuesday: There's Always Time For Blueprinting
Or almost. It's definitely something you can do when you don't have time to do much.
I sometimes lump blueprinting in with outlining. It's different, though, in that it's a method of generating material for new writing, while outlining is more about organizing material you already have.
The Basic Blueprinting Method
As described by Wendy Maas in a workshop I attended in 2016, blueprinting involves coming up with eighteen events that could happen in your book, which become your chapters. Then for each chapter, come up with ten things that could happen in it. For each of those ten things, use who, what, when, where, why questions to elaborate upon them.
There's more to it than that. Take her workshop. Or read her article on the subject.
How It's Been Working For Me
I've used this quite a bit for an adult book I'm working on. I don't worry a lot (or at all) about getting the numbers right. But the system is very helpful. When it's working particularly well, I can practically drop my blueprint notes right into paragraphs.
Why Can Blueprinting Help During A Time Crunch...Like December?
Blueprinting can help when you don't have a lot of time because you can do it in bits and pieces. You can work on coming up with a few things that could happen in a chapter at any time, wherever you are. In the car during a twelve hour road trip, for instance. You can answer who, what, when, where, why questions about the items you came up with in odd moments. Make some notes on your phone, tablet, or any scrap of paper nearby. If you can grab ten or fifteen minutes, pull the notes together.
When you can get back to regular work time, you'll have at least a part of a blueprint to use. You can get back to producing content a lot faster.
Also, just tinkering with your blueprint whenever you can will help keep your head in the game, because you won't have gone days or weeks without even thinking about it.