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 Outlining: do you or dont you?

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Mon May 04, 2009 2:10 pm

I generally don't do an outline, they get me trapped in and I loose my focus. I do however list out all my characters and a basic once I start writing though because otherwise I get them confused. I don't do that until I need to though.

Also, I will do a timeline if it gets complicated and will plot out where they are, where they are from and so on. But I won't do that until it reaches the point that I need to. Usually it's when I hit a wall and realize I can't remember when that point happened or where a specific characters is from.

As for fanfic, it's never something I tried and I'm not sure I want to. If I did it would be a spoof with a bizarre and humorous plot making fun the the characters. It's just not something I do.

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Mon May 04, 2009 2:11 pm

gobblegobble wrote:


That's how I used to try and outline my stories. It was really hard to do and made my story not so good. That's how though I switched to the way I do it now.

IE

Chapter One--
Claire meets Sam and wonders why he won't speak to her. Then Claire has strange dream where her family dies and Sam is there laughing at their deaths. Claire wakes up in cold sweat.

That's how I do outlines and actually that one line there gave me another story idea--dang it. That would make it story number 8.

Ahhh sort of like little summaries?? That makes MUCH more sense! I shall try this. Thank you!! *bows down*
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Mon May 04, 2009 8:49 pm

No problem MJ. I find that if I need to skip around more too that that technique helps a lot.
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Anne Gilbert
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Tue May 05, 2009 3:28 pm

gobblegobble, missjulie, and all:

There are a number of writers who recommend outlining your work, chapter by chapter, scene by scene. I've tried story outlines, but quite frankly, they don't work for me. However, my current work in progress has four "key scenes" that I built my story around, and they've remeained pretty constant throughout all the changes that I've made therein.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Tue May 05, 2009 9:00 pm

Oh, I think my mind would explode doing a scene by scene. Especially since I'm a "seat of my pants" kind of writer where I like everything to divulge itself without me knowing every step of the way. I know a lot of other writer's outline their works very intensely but I just don't think I could do something like that.

I get somewhat regular emails from what this author calls an "email blog" since he talks about writing all the time in them. He did do a couple emails on outlining and mentioned the pros and cons of both sides...the waiting game and the intense outliner. I remember reading that if you're going to do the scene by scene intense outlining that the person looking over just your outline should love your story before you've written it because you've thrown in so much of the emotion and suspense into just your outline. When I read that I was like, "I will never outline like that. My brain would go 'pop' and then I'd be put in a nuthouse."
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Tue May 05, 2009 11:54 pm

gobblegobble:

You sound kind of like me. Early on in my writing history, I took the advice of some writers in my group and tried outlining and following the outline. But while I do some basic organization, I would say I'm mostly a "seat of the pants" writer, too. I have an idea, then I work around scenes. But some writers are just the opposite, and must have everything organized. Thiis may be a particularly helpful technique if you're writing historcal fiction or mysteries, though. I'm writing a sort of "hybrid" of historical fiction and science fiction, so I don't know if that would help me at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Wed May 06, 2009 7:56 pm

emilycross wrote:
I've always known that i'm a 'loose' plotter - i like to see where the blog flows etc rather than outlining every little scene. The fact is though that my writing style has gotten me no where fast. So, as many of you know i purchased 'how to write first draft in thirty days' which is all about writing a very comprehensive outline in a month

the authors point is that you sort out all the kinks and plot holes before you sit down to write your 'full draft' (book terminology) which makes a lot of sense. I get a headache thinking of all the work and detail (i'm not a detail person) but i think it would be really good for me to actually make myself sit down and plan.

I like the idea of knowing exactly what is coming so i can concentrate on proper dialogue etc rather than be thinking 'whats going to happen next'/

what do you think?

Do you outline? and how comprehensively do you do it? Would anyone like me to post some of her worksheets (i think theres a link to her website where she has them for free?)


This is probably my problem I tend to get an idea and try to go with it. Usually along the way I make notes and I try to have an ending in mind as a goal. Unfortunately with so many fan fics going my novel tends to get lost int he shuffle. I have to make myself work on it and I guess its not my passion. Supernatural tends to be my passion, hopefully during the time the show is on break I will get back to serious novel work. They say you write your passion I guess that is my problem.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sat May 09, 2009 12:37 am

I never outline. I begin with some characters -they come first - and an initial situation of tension/conflict, or maybe one major plot idea -and then I just begin to write. After that, I 'plan' (but only ever mentally) anything between about two chapters ahead and (at times) no further than the end of the current scene. Ideas for later events, or even snippets of dialogue or whatever, and sometimes occur t me, out of order, and in that case I jot them in a file labeled 'bits for later'. Sometimes by the time get there these bits do fit in and I use them - but l'd say 75% of the time they never get used. For me, it's all about the characters doing what is right for them, not about me trying to choreograph them into a pre-determined plot.

It's not that I'm saying this is necessarily the best way of working - far from it! - and sometimes the result is a structureless mess, and doesn't hang together a all. But for me, it's the only way I can work!

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sat May 09, 2009 12:43 am

I've been going back through outlines for The Enigma over the past few days, and I've noticed something. For this one, I didn't really "outline." I just made a lot of notes on random bits of napkin or a torn up piece of old notebook paper.

I think, for me, it depends on the type of story that I'm writing. For The Surface of the Deep, I had to create an entire world and a new race of beings. Meaning a lot of notes. The Enigma takes place in an established universe, and although I did tweak and twist some of the mythology, a lot of it is concrete. So just a few notes there.

I am awfully fond of my 3-act structure outlines, though.

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Anne Gilbert
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sat May 09, 2009 5:33 pm

Novel Goddess:

I guess it depends. People who write historical fiction, or mysteries, often recommend outlining a plot and keeping a timeline. I tried outlining several of my early attempts, and it just didn't work for me.
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PostSubject: When your characters suprise you   Wed May 13, 2009 5:30 pm

A writer friend of me was whining about outlining today, and asked me for my advice. No, I do a vague outline, just to keep things linear and on point, however today one of my characters suprised me with a plot detail i had nothing to do with. Basically, he's about to start some crap, but he's figured out a way to BLAME someone else. His idea, not mine. I love it when that happens.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Thu May 14, 2009 4:27 am

I completely forgot about this page i found, ages ago about the SnowFlake Method

I think i might try and mix this with the book that i bought. I like the idea of the snowflake method because you start with one sentence and keep building from there. Which is good for someone like me who only has the bare ideas of what to plot Laughing

what do you guys think of this method?

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Thu May 14, 2009 7:50 pm

Emily:

This really sounds like a good idea! What I think I'm going to do, though, is use it on something I've laid aside for a while, when I get through with what I'm writing now. Or else I'll use it on the "prequel" to what I'm doing now.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Fri May 15, 2009 1:55 am

Anne, thats great idea - let us know how you find it as you progress with it Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Fri May 15, 2009 6:17 pm

Emily:

I certainly will!
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Fri May 22, 2009 3:39 pm

I've been looking at that link, Emily. Looks pretty cool, but I dunno if I'll end up using that method a lot. I generally like to stick to my three-act and ten-scene structures.

Back in October, when I was gearing up for NaNoWriMo, I wrote a good couple of pages on each act, and then three to five pages about each chapter, with notes and general what-have-you that I needed to include. It worked for all of three days before I got tired of it.

Does anybody write out everything that happens in the story before you start writing? Or do you just hit general points, like I usually do? I know Christopher Paolini had, like, a 400 page outline for the third Inheritence book (although that was back before it became two seperate books). I'm just curious: anybody else do that kind of thing?

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sat May 23, 2009 6:25 am

I just write down a quick summery before I start writing (otherwise I'll forget the whole idea) and I pretty much just stick to the key points that I know are gonna happen, leaving the ending out if I don't know how I want it to end yet. I do write a whole page for my characters though. Personalities, looks, habits, that kind of thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sat May 23, 2009 11:24 pm

BlackFairyDust01:

I think I mentioned elsewhere, that my stories usually have "key scenes". I usually write around these "key scenes", but the "key scenes" are always there.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sun May 24, 2009 8:43 pm

Yeah, I like the "key scenes" method a lot, too. I'm trying to go back and outline some things in The Silent Halls, but I'm kind of flying blind. I know what I want to happen in the book, but it's pretty much just like a reaaaaaally long epilogue to tSotD. I'm trying to outline so I can actually take it somewhere, but I'm a little stuck. Anyone have any ideas on an outlining system that might help?

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sun May 24, 2009 10:52 pm

Novel-Goddess:

Sometimes it helps to do a "sort of" outline of what you want, or think you want, in a chapter, before you actually write it, and then write that scene or chapter down. It doesn't always work the way you want it to, but you can always throw that out and try something else if it doesn't. This works well if you're confused, stuck, or the story seems muddled wherever you are. I know, 'cause it worked for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Sun May 24, 2009 11:23 pm

Hey, thanks for that. Chapter by chapter might work on this one. I'll have to try it out. Thanks! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Tue May 26, 2009 5:04 pm

Novel Goddess:

You may find you don't have to do this for every chapter. Just some of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:35 am

Do you know what I'm doing at the moment?

I'm writing what I would call a plot, but maybe it's more like an outline.

Why is this significant?
Because I don't plot. I'm a pantzer. I know roughly what's happening for the next couple of chapters, and I know some of the major plot points for the rest of the book, as well as roughly where the story is headed.

This time, I was working out some things about the bad guys for my side project. Finally cracked that this morning, and started writing out some other details for my story.

The reason I'm doing things different for this project is that I think this is going to be more complicated. And I want to get it right. I'm leaving things vague, and I know it will be very easy to slot extra things in, or change details, but I think it will be useful to know more before I start.
I'll see how things go! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:28 am

Personally, i don't do outlines.....or even prewriting like a plot idea or anything....

I just start writing, and then see where it leads me. It's more like following a river, you've no idea where it takes you, but it can be fun, or dangerous, following it!

That's how my writing is, at least until i edit it ><

Is that strange?

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PostSubject: Re: Outlining: do you or dont you?   Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:32 pm

Akurei_Enzuru:

It's not strange, but "just sitting down and writing" can produce results that are not entirely manageable, as I discovered with my earliest writing efforts.
Anne G
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