Before we begin, practice healthy creative habits: Clear your space of clutter, set aside some time to focus and spend 2-3 minutes doing your Daily Free Writing before you begin. See Lesson 2 for more about DFW.

THEMES

Do you remember your target words from Day 5? Now that we’ve spent almost three weeks working on our outline, let’s revisit this concept.

At this point, the bulk of the work of our outline is done, but it’s important to carefully inspect the individual threads we’ve weaved together. This is a good time to do a little “scratch writing” where you take your three words as themes in your book, and through writing, explore how it’s represented in your book.

Specifically we’re looking for proof, examples, actions, scenes – we want these concepts to be illustrated with the active voice, not passively spoon fed to the reader. So how did your themes manifest? It might be helpful (and I did this for my own book) to take a piece of paper, write the chapter numbers on the left hand side, with three columns on the right (one for each word) and read through the entire outline and write notes every time your theme is represented. Is it consistent throughout the book? Is there some long pauses? Is there a point where you have nothing? These are opportunities to examine what you have planned and to see if there’s a useful way to insert some of that mojo back into that chapter. Don’t break anything! It’s just your themes, you don’t have to ditch an entire act to make it work, but just like seasoning a stew, you want to come at it again and again. You salt as you cook the meat, you salt again after adding your braising liquid, you salt as it cooks, you salt again as you finish. If you keep hitting your outline and pushing these elements now, before you write, it’s going to help keep you on course.

This is a big reading assignment, so off you go!

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1Daily Free Writing
2Chapter-by-chapter analysis of your target words from Day 5.