Author Topic: Your Method to Outline  (Read 12186 times)

Offline thatollie

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #45 on: March 10, 2009, 04:49:30 AM »
Well this writing stuff is pretty tricky when you realize your missing part of the plot, its hard to even outline when you are missing part of the plot and background and reason for a chracter being there

You know the character is going to be there, but where from and why.. that is the part that im stumped on and hence its brought me to a grinding halt in the outlining stage

now some will go.. oh just write.. write what? dribble? Im one of these people who has to know where the hell im going otherwise im not going to drive around aimlessly.. this mean to me having a clear outline and developing that is kicking my ass not because outlines are hard to do, but my story is a tough one to write on...
This all sounds very logical, it's utter bull but it sounds logical. The only reason you don't want to write any of the words in your story is because you're afraid of it.
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Offline Annmarie

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #46 on: March 10, 2009, 05:23:26 AM »
Ollie might have a point there, ed.

I've heard stories about people who outlined their books for years and never actually got around to writing them. The reason: insecurity and perfectionism. At some point, you  have to make a decision. I want such-and-such a character to be this way. I want  the climax to happen here. You have the itchy feeling that your decisions aren't quite right, but you decide to get that first draft down based on those decisions anyway. It is an act of courage and will to write knowing you don't have all the answers. However long and hard you work on your outline, it will be flawed. It will change. You must accept it.

Are you willing to walk off that cliff? For the first draft, you must do it.

Your first draft will be crap, ed. Everybody's is except for a few especially gifted writers. Let yourself jump into it and flail around, writing on the backbone of your imperfect outline. When those theoretical characters that seem 2-dimensional in planning get a chance to walk and talk  in an actual story --- no matter how campy, badly written or illogical --- they will start to come to life. It's an organic process. The characters will grow when you let them, and some characters will only reveal their true faces when they are free to act in  the story.

I've watched you  struggle with outlining techniques for a while. I know how you feel. Six months ago I went through a phase of outlining that was painful too at first. But throughout that planning stage there was one thing I was focused on: writing the first draft. An outline is only a guide for that first big achievement. I'm starting the third draft of the  novel now. Looking back, my first outline was deeply, horribly flawed. The story is now 100x better than it was in the planning, and do you know why? Because I'm writing it. I needed that launching point, the "bad"  outline, only as a place to start.

I want to write my book that badly. How badly do you want to write yours? If you're committed to the story and you want to outline, then you must reach a point soon when you decide your planning is good enough for Draft 1. Then jump in. It will be hard, but you know that writing is hard. Avoiding it won't make it any easier.

Annmarie 
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Offline brianca

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2009, 12:31:38 PM »
It seems that the problem is that you don't know what your book is about.  You've got a hook, but no real plot.  Until you resolve that, no amount of outlining or writing is going fix it.  Outlining isn't there to help you figure out what the story is about, it help you organize the thoughts you already have and put them in a logical order.  It'll help you see gaps in the story that need to be filled in, but it won't fill in the really big holes.

Maybe step back and start with the basics.  Opening hook, first plot point, second plot point, and conclusion.  Get those down solidly and build from there.  Get the story worked out in your head using those as milestones.  Until you have at least that, it's impossible to do the rest IMO.

b.

Offline eric

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2009, 04:24:28 PM »
Brianca's just about right, I think.  It has seemed to me all along, Ed, correct me if I'm wrong, that really, in your heart of hearts, you just want someone to tell you what your story is, and with any luck they'll outline it for you too.  I don't know what other conclusion a fair minded person could come to, really.  And I think writing is a little harder than that, usually.  It might be a good idea, in fact, to work out your story before worrying about how to organize and write it.  This may mean actually doing it yourself, instead of trying to get others to do it for you.  The point of a writer's forum is for people to help others with their writing, not to do the writing for them.

You're a businessman--you're familiar with the concept of OPM, I'm sure.  It works in business when you can do it.  In writing, that is called various names, none of them good.  Hope you figure how to do your work the old fashioned way--that is, with your own ideas--I am sure it will work out better if you do.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 04:44:30 PM by eric »

Offline ed

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #49 on: March 10, 2009, 04:55:00 PM »
This all sounds very logical, it's utter bull but it sounds logical. The only reason you don't want to write any of the words in your story is because you're afraid of it.

ummmm, sounds like your lost in your own ideas and think everyone follows your view of the world
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 05:07:56 PM by ed »

Offline ed

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #50 on: March 10, 2009, 05:00:44 PM »
It seems that the problem is that you don't know what your book is about.  You've got a hook, but no real plot.  Until you resolve that, no amount of outlining or writing is going fix it.  Outlining isn't there to help you figure out what the story is about, it help you organize the thoughts you already have and put them in a logical order.  It'll help you see gaps in the story that need to be filled in, but it won't fill in the really big holes.

Maybe step back and start with the basics.  Opening hook, first plot point, second plot point, and conclusion.  Get those down solidly and build from there.  Get the story worked out in your head using those as milestones.  Until you have at least that, it's impossible to do the rest IMO.

b.


You have put it in a nutshell. I dont know what its about. I only know in part what its about.

Thanks ill give that try

Offline ed

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #51 on: March 10, 2009, 05:05:17 PM »
Brianca's just about right, I think.  It has seemed to me all along, Ed, correct me if I'm wrong, that really, in your heart of hearts, you just want someone to tell you what your story is, and with any luck they'll outline it for you too.  I don't know what other conclusion a fair minded person could come to, really.  And I think writing is a little harder than that, usually.  It might be a good idea, in fact, to work out your story before worrying about how to organize and write it.  This may mean actually doing it yourself, instead of trying to get others to do it for you.  The point of a writer's forum is for people to help others with their writing, not to do the writing for them.

You're a businessman--you're familiar with the concept of OPM, I'm sure.  It works in business when you can do it.  In writing, that is called various names, none of them good.  Hope you figure how to do your work the old fashioned way--that is, with your own ideas--I am sure it will work out better if you do.

I guess you have to ask yourself if someone has 90% of the story and 10% is just the background on 1 person..and they are looking for ideas. Are they asking for someone to tell them the story? I dont think so.

They are looking to get a different perspective on a difficult characters background.

I call this helping others with their writing, not writing it for them

Offline brianca

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #52 on: March 10, 2009, 05:09:48 PM »
I've only read a little of the story idea so far, so maybe you could tell the four elements mentioned above.  Opening hook, first plot point, second plot point, and conclusion.  That would help me understand better where you're getting stuck.

Offline ed

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #53 on: March 10, 2009, 05:11:32 PM »
I've only read a little of the story idea so far, so maybe you could tell the four elements mentioned above.  Opening hook, first plot point, second plot point, and conclusion.  That would help me understand better where you're getting stuck.


I will msg you as its only 1 character thats it that im stuck on

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #54 on: March 11, 2009, 03:16:20 AM »
I guess you have to ask yourself if someone has 90% of the story and 10% is just the background on 1 person..and they are looking for ideas. Are they asking for someone to tell them the story? I dont think so.

If you've got 90% of the story, you have enough to outline! I believe the point ollie and eric and I were making is that if you don't watch out, you could end up one of those people mulling over the story too much without actually doing any of the substantial work, which is writing. Most people who "want to write a novel" are like this. They fiddle around for years, always inventing reasons why they can't get down to business. Most of us have been there. We don't want you or anybody else on these boards to fall into that trap.

What brianca said about hook, plot points and conclusion is a good way to go, though it's not useful for everyone. Others say know where your beginning and end are, and fill in the rest, easier said than done. If you know where your beginning and end are, but aren't sure of one character, you have three options: Cut that character and see what the story looks like without, replace that character with someone totally different, or muddle through with what you currently know about the character and save the refinements for Drafts 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Some characters fall into your lap complete, some need a lot of work over time, but that work usually bears fruit in the actual writing, less in the intellectual planning beforehand.

--A
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Offline ed

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Re: Your Method to Outline
« Reply #55 on: March 12, 2009, 01:20:40 AM »
If you've got 90% of the story, you have enough to outline! I believe the point ollie and eric and I were making is that if you don't watch out, you could end up one of those people mulling over the story too much without actually doing any of the substantial work, which is writing. Most people who "want to write a novel" are like this. They fiddle around for years, always inventing reasons why they can't get down to business. Most of us have been there. We don't want you or anybody else on these boards to fall into that trap.

What brianca said about hook, plot points and conclusion is a good way to go, though it's not useful for everyone. Others say know where your beginning and end are, and fill in the rest, easier said than done. If you know where your beginning and end are, but aren't sure of one character, you have three options: Cut that character and see what the story looks like without, replace that character with someone totally different, or muddle through with what you currently know about the character and save the refinements for Drafts 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Some characters fall into your lap complete, some need a lot of work over time, but that work usually bears fruit in the actual writing, less in the intellectual planning beforehand.

--A

Thanks I hear you, i dont want to fall into that trap

Brianca has been very helpful, I like her approach to it, already its helped me come up with the background on the character