1. gina
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    gina Member

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    Do you use an outline?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by gina, Aug 30, 2015.

    Im writing my first novel and using an outline, the snowflake method to be exact. Do you have an outline or guide that tells you how many words each section or act should be? It would be really helpful.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    What's the snowflake method?

    I write an outline for each chapter setting out:
    • whose point of view it's from (I have two);
    • the main things that happen;
    • the conflict (only one or two very short chapters don't have a conflict);
    • what I want to show about my characters from that chapter.
    Word count is irrelevant to me. My longest chapter is around 4,000 words, my shortest 500 or so. I don't believe that you should write to such a strictly defined formula as x words per section. You need to just tell the story and see how many words it takes.
     
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  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Yes, I will be using an outline. I will start producing it this week.

    How many words each section or act should be will determined entirely by the content. Trying to predict or plan that beforehand seems counter intuitive to me.
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've tried the snowflake method. It didn't work for me. My biggest problem with it was, I was planning the characters and everything before the story. So when it came time to write, my characters had no room to grow. They couldn't react "naturally" because I'd already planned out exactly who they should be.

    So I pretty much scrapped all of it. I had a general idea of who my MC was, then I'd plan the entire story, chapter by chapter. My characters, and my plot, would grow as I wrote so that nothing ever felt forced. It's kind of like being a pantser, but in outline form. lol It's been working wonders for me.

    I try to keep my chapters consistent, around 2k words each, but I end up having some longer and some shorter, which I'll fix in my final edit. I know most people don't mind having such drastic differences in chapter length, but I'm a little OCD and it bothers me. :p

    I still try to stick to the three act structure a little bit, but I don't force it. My highs and lows develop naturally in their proper place.
     
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  5. gina
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    gina Member

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    Take a look here: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, a fractal!

    I'm doing okay without that level of detail but I can see how it might help.

    I think you're worrying a lot about word count, judging from the threads you've started. This can change SO much after your first draft, so at this point you're just using up valuable time in thinking about it. Write the story with as many or as few words you need and then you can either cut it down or flesh it out. Or you might find it's perfect.
     
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  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never have in the past and it's worth noting I've never completed so much as a first draft novel.

    I'm using one this time. I forced myself. It's the seven-point system of:

    1. Hook
    2. Plot turn I
    3: Pinch I
    4. Mid point
    5. Pinch II
    6. Plot turn II
    7. Resolution

    Even now, each of those points has little more than a sentence or two assigned to them, so I'm not sure it can be called a true outline. Even so, I do find it helps me to keep at it, as I know where I need to be taking the story.
     
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  8. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Where did you learn this system?
     
  9. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do not use an outline but I do refer to a list of notes a create before I begin writing. I keep a general guideline in my head but other then that I keep it pretty loose. I have tried the whole outline thing in the past though,
     
  10. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good question. It was a writing website that I think someone had linked to from here. It had an accompanying podcast explaing the various points, using the Harry Potter books/films as a template.

    I'll see if I can find it... hold on.

    That was easier than I imagined.

    http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/10/07/writing-excuses-7-41-seven-point-story-structure/
     
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  11. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Cheers @OurJud
     
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