The Writing Process · Writing Tips & Advice

Padding Out the Outline…

Are you too concise? Good at short stories but unsure whether you have the writing stamina to last for a whole novel? Well, I’ll join you.

I’m getting near the end of my outlining process and beginning to wonder if I can actually expand the few sentences of each of my chapter outlines into two thousand words or so.

So, if you’re in the same (small) boat, I’ll share this.

I subscribe to plenty of “new book” emails and Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner was recommended today. I liked the cover (train, snow, and I do judge a book by its cover), so I checked it out.


And it’s brilliant. Or at least the first chapter (as far as I got) is. Steiner is skilled at noting the tiny details and making them fascinating. For example,

He turns his face so the light hits the thumb prints on his glasses.


The waiter brings the bill and it lies lightly curled on a white saucer with two mint imperials.

And finally,

… a yellow domed Seventies floor lamp, which she had just switched off at the plug because the switch is bust.

So, instead of leaping from A to B and finishing my chapter in 500 words, I’ll be following Steiner’s example – or trying to. More details, more fascination. I hope.


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