Writing Time, Part 83. Time Management for Writers, a Fractal Approach

I like to think of outlining as fractal, like a rocky coastline. The jagged water’s edge looks similar—not identical, just very like—if seen from space, an airplane, a tower, a rooftop, or from a crouching position at the water’s edge. Story sections also look rather the same at different planning elevations.

Whether it’s the 7-volume arc, the single novel, the act, or the scene, great stories have a rhythm that includes the set-up, hard choices and sacrifices, learning and transforming, transfers of power, darkest moments, great rewards, and, as best-selling author Kathy Tyers puts it, moments of beauty, where we enjoy just being alive in a narrative, or in a character’s skin, and where we can look back in awe at the transformations.

Because of these structural similarities, if we like we can save ourselves a lot of drafting time by carrying outline templates. These might be graphic organizers we’ve developed ourselves, or various outline styles we’ve learned from experts, or a combination of the two. In our busy weeks, as we attempt to fit a full-time writing career into our full-time lives, and maintain our good health and relationships, outlining a bit or the whole of a story becomes a satisfying 5-minute reward.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel

Note: map detail from Allaigna: Overture, by JM Landels. Get this marvellous fantasy read from Pulp Literature Press, here. 

The original map was created by world-builder Scott Fitzgerald Gray.


If you enjoy Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might try her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.

From Pulp Literature Press

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