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Outlining Novels Using Chocolate

If this sounds like the ideal means by which to outline your novels, then you are probably as big a chocoholic as I am. I use chocolate to combat high levels of stress caused by social anxiety. My roommate buys me those large bags of around 145 assorted miniature Hershey candy bars. The ones with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, almonds and toffee in them.

Each little candy bar is wrapped up inside of a 2.5 x 3 inch square of paper-backed wrapper. A month or so ago I started dropping those little wrappers into a small cardboard box beside my trash can instead of into the trash can.

Last night, while trying to sort out how to proceed with my novel, I dug into the box and counted out 70 wrappers, flattened them out, and stacked them up. I then wrote brief blurbs for the scenes I have so far, one scene per wrapper.

This morning I grabbed some old thumb tacks and started pinning the wrappers to a 2’x3′ bullitain board I had kicking around. Once the board was covered in all 70 wrappers I started writing on the blank wrappers, adding what scenes I know I will need, adding in scenes that will bridge the gaps between other scenes, and just filling in what was missing from the story I want to tell.

As I write this I have 14 blanks left to fill in. I also have four extra wrappers pinned to the bottom of the board where I have wrote the name of each of my three point of view characters in a different color of felt pen, as well as small blurbs in pencil for what situation the character shoud be in at the end of their arc in this book. The fourth extra wrapper is where I wrote what I realised is my novel’s theme (one I had no planned, but suddenly realized is there.)

And that is how, if you are a stress chocoholic like I am, you can ouline your novel using chocolate.

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