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  1. Hobbywriter
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    Hobbywriter New Member

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    Basic Outlines

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Hobbywriter, Dec 2, 2009.

    Wondering... when writing a story with multiple main protagonists, how would one set up the outlines? without giving too much away i'll lay it on you.

    something goes down, and a group of friends and a couple other secondary characters all set a plan into motion to make it to a safe area they had planned. unfortunately they're all in different places when the proverbial **** hits the fan and each embarks on a seperate, slightly intertwining journey from their perspective points A to point B.

    a few questions i would like some input on:

    1. would having multiple storylines take away from the entire work in general?
    and if so how do i remedy this?
    2. Its a novel/novella, so how many seperate storylines would be enough? How many would be too many, and how many would be too few?
    3. Which comes first in order - character develpment, plot development, or setting?

    thanks in advance for any help
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...it could, if one's not a good enough writer, while a really good writer can make anything work...

    ...there's no established formula... it only depends on each individual story and what works for it, not on any 'right' or 'wrong' number...

    ...that said, there's little to no market for adult novellas in the us... if it's YA, or for the uk market, then the picture's less bleak...

    ...again, there's no set formula, each story and each writer determines its/his/her own priorities... and what works for one, may not for all others...

    ...you need to stop looking for guidelines/formulae and just write the story you have in your head, in the best way you can... don't try to make it like anyone else's, let it be what it wants to be, as you let it pour from your mind to the paper/screen...
     
  3. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    maia said it all

    Just start writing. It will work out the "basic" kinks out for you, if you persevere past all the false starts
     
  4. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    That shouldn't mean planning is a bad thing. If this is your first story of this kind, you'll likely be refining your plot and characters alot, as you learn more about what you're doing with them. I'd suggest summarizing your story in simple scene descriptions first -- perhaps writing each branch of the story seperately this way and then merge them together, while keeping things simple. That allows you to tinker with the scenes, move stuff around and make the whole thing flow properly, before you do the actual writing. Having a solid outline at your hand takes a huge load off of your shoulders.

    When I write outlines for stories with multiple POVs, I write each in their own color of text. That way I can easily skim through the entire story and see how it balances out.
     
  5. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    1. would having multiple storylines take away from the entire work in general?
    and if so how do i remedy this?

    It really depends on the said plots and how complicated they are. If they're both rather complicated, do they even need to be in the same book, or would they be better off as two separate stories? Do they influence and affect each other? It might be that you end up with one main plot and a subplot, which is much more manageable.

    I've found with stories that have different separate plots that I get irritated and angry. There's always one I prefer over the other, and I resent being taken away to a different storyline when I was starting to enjoy the other one. I'd recommend avoiding this as much as possible. If it is necessary to have more than one storyline, they need to interweave and affect the other(s), or else it's pointless having them in the same book. Alternatively, it could be that there are two separate plots that get closer together as it goes on, when they come together at the climax.

    2. Its a novel/novella, so how many seperate storylines would be enough? How many would be too many, and how many would be too few?

    Again, I think it really depends on the plotlines. You could get away with several simple ones but less complicated ones. It's probably something you'll have to use your judgement on.

    3. Which comes first in order - character develpment, plot development, or setting?

    It depends. Follow your heart!


    I've written a story with multiple/subplots. I found the best way of planning it was to make separate flowcharts with the sequence of events. If you work on these simultaneously, you'll get more of an idea of the chronology and you'll see where their paths cross.
     

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