In every day life, it’s a good idea to tie up loose ends so that they don’t trip us up down the road.
In the world of story telling however, those same loose ends serve to set up future events. They are like bread crumbs for our readers to follow from beginning to end.
These loose ends can take many forms as long as they move the story forward. They can leave the reader worrying and wishing they could warn the hero or heroine. Something terrible will result from the overlooked and forgotten “loose end”.
How can you keep track of the loose ends that you have deliberately left behind? You will need an outline for your story. Although many writers prefer to write by the seat of their pants, an outline will help you to keep track of what has already happened in previous chapters and it will prevent obvious errors in the future narrative.
Using butcher paper, a yard stick, and a marker, you will divide the evenly sectioned paper into squares, one for each of your chapters. Then, write down a brief summary of each chapter including the names of the characters. It is a good idea to think about what each chapter is about and give the chapter a title other than just a number. Remember to make note of your loose ends.
Of course, you could just use a note book….but where is the fun in that? That big piece of paper hanging on your wall gives you a way to quickly scan the entire project without having to flip pages.