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3 Things I Felt After Finishing My First Book Outline

by Terri Allen 12 months ago in literature
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Relief, Anguish and Fatigue

Yesterday I finished my first ever book outline just in time to partake in NaNoWriMo 2021 for the first time. This is a book that originally made me want to become a writer and I’ve been sitting on it for about two or three years but I never sat down and made a proper outline.

I wrote a few chapters of it before I decided that I would make a proper outline so that I can get a better first draft then I would have ended up with originally. At this point I remembered that NaNoWriMo exists and that I should take part!

This would help me to reach the goal that I set myself last year that I was going to complete my first ever book (and by that I mean a first draft of a book). My original outline was rather rubbish so I mostly scrapped it. I think out of 124 pages I kept the information from about 12 pages.

I still have a lot more stuff to do for this outline just so that I have visual representations for when I need to add more detail in my draft. I know this story is going to be more than the NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words but I want to challenge myself to do it.


When I finally wrote “the end” on the last page of my outline I felt an unbelievable sense of utter relief! It’s a huge accomplishment to finally decide what I want my entire plot to be and have a very basic outline of each chapter in my story. I finally know the start, middle, end and how to get from one point to the other completely. I sat back on my couch for a solid five minutes in shock that I was finally done. Seventeen hours spread over three days is a long time to keep your brain focused on one thing but I did it and now I’m burnt out.


Next came a huge sense of dread as I came to the realisation that my story was fully plotted out and I’ll never get the chance to learn about my story and my characters again because I already know everything about them. I will never not be shocked by the way my imagination can create something out of nothing and I will forever feel saddened by the fact that I will never be able to create my existing characters from scratch again. My plot for this story is wild and I am so unbelievably proud of myself for coming up with this story.

The whole idea for this story came from me sitting on a train on my commute to work and I was listening to a brand new song that I found on my Spotify Discover playlist. I was listening to the song and all of a sudden a scene flashed in my head and I knew that this is the song that would be playing over this scene in a movie. I will never get to have that experience with this book ever again because the outline is finished and I’ve learnt everything about this book that I will ever need to.


I am so tired, so burnt-out from this whole experience. As soon as I was done and the initial excitement left my body I realised it was close to 1am and I had been writing handwritten notes across the span of three days. I felt pure exhaustion and after I uploaded a quick update to all of my social media platforms to let everyone know that I completed this gargantuan task I lay on my couch and fought off sleep. Using the creative part of my brain for so long on the one topic was difficult but I pushed through and completed it.

I wouldn’t recommend doing the amount of work I did in that short of a period of time unless that’s your usual process but for me I was doing it out of pure spite and excitement. I have never been happier and I am so excited to take part in my first NaNoWriMo, wish me luck. Here’s to 50,000 words in 30 days!


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Terri Allen

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