1. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    I enjoy outlining more...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Noya Desherbanté, Mar 6, 2011.

    I'm coming here for help, because no matter how many writers' articles I read, I've never encountered in another person what I seem to have right now... it's that rarely do I ever sit down and write (shock! lol). I think it fills me with a sort of subconscious dread, the fact that I have my own standards to live up to, plus it takes so long is the main deterrent... I can outline and plan stories for hours. I can write detailed little outlines of each chapter, describe every little thing that goes on, just with minimal description and no dialogue. I almost have done a whole novel like this, but when I go back to try and write the thing, I can't. I've tried even going back to my outline and fleshing it out, inserting bits here and there, but I never remember the 'feelings' of it, if that makes sense... I appreciate if this is a bit slapdash and silly sounding, and I should get on with it. But something is really holding me back, and writing isn't that fun for me any more, at a time when I have far too many ideas in my head to leave them unwritten. Has anyone experienced something similar, or has some advice? Thanks all :love:
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can certainly understand it. I get stuck whenever I try to write something I don't feel I know well, because it feels like it won't be good.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest, you think writing takes too long but you said a line after that you spend hours outlining, that is, creating something that isn't even the novel you want to tell.

    If you HAVE to plan, plan just enough so that you know what the scene will be, but not so much you aren't coming to it fresh. As much as planning can be important, writing is only fun when you're discovering along with it. If you already know every twist and turn then of COURSE filling in the pretty flowery bits and annoying practical parts of presenting the plan in a coherent way is going to just feel like drudge work, because you spent all your enjoyment and enthusiasm on something that wasn't even your story.

    Either set things aside and give it time to cool off, or close the plan and don't open it again until you've written the novel - unless you have serious memory problems (no offence if you do - I didn't know :p) you should remember the outline and what was meant to happen. The act of writing it will bring what needs to happen next to mind, but spontaneously, rather than seeing it waiting a few lines further down the page.

    Writing should be something you enjoy. If you're not, don't.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this is a good advice - I hate the start of the novel writing process it's really difficult. Getting into the flow takes time. I don't spend a lot of time outlining but I do procrastinate starting a story.
     
  5. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    Would I be correct in assuming that you write so much background story, descriptions etc., that you practicaly create this huge, awesome world that just feels right, but when you try to write it you fail at getting your feeling of that world down on paper? If so then it sounds to me like you should try taking one of your ideas, come up with a plot, then just write a story without ever working on the setting. You might find that you enjoy the writing more when you are actually putting your inspiration on paper while it is still new. This way what you write might actually end up being what feels right.

    Hope it helps.:)
     
  6. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    You need to drop your outline process, because it isn't working. At least cut it back some. Also, it sounds like you have too high expectations of yourself for your rough draft. Don't be afraid to write a crappy rough draft. It's supposed to be crappy. The revision process is where you'll start to create a masterpiece.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds to me like you're experiencing fear of not writing well enough. It's like the writer's version of stage fright. There's probably no way around it other than to bite the bullet and write. Face that blank page and fill it. I can't think of any shortcuts.

    It might help to take an online writing course, like the Gotham Writers' Workshop courses. You will be obliged to submit your work to the scrutiny of your fellow students, and that might give you the kick in the pants you need. I'm currently taking my second Gotham course, and I'm enjoying it a lot. The environment is very supportive and encouraging.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I have an outlining strategy that is pretty similar to yours, but I include (actually, mostly) things that won't end up in the book. Notes to myself about style, tone, references, allusions, techniques, structures, sentence patterns, anything and everything, as well as what action actually takes place. If you're having trouble remembering the 'feeling' (?) of it, it could be that you need to leave yourself more to work with.

    Ultimately, though, I find this way of outlining far more effective than any others I've tried. By the time your first draft is done, the end result is already well constructed, well thought out and really familiar to you, allowing you to focus more quickly on technical details and tightening up, instead of having to do dramatic rewrites.
     
  9. 4trevor
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    4trevor New Member

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    I agree with this.. Also, I don't think you necessarily need to drop your outlining process..if it feels like an important step in creating your story or novel do it, but don't let yourself get stuck there..take as much time as you need (it has taken some writers 10+ years to finish a novel, Catcher in the Rye was one I think, and pretty short at that, around 50,000 words, and others pump out 4-6 books a year) but you have to eventually move on to writing a draft. Yeah, it sucks starting the draft..the outline is "safe" and tempting to continue on with, but you have to get to a point where you have a strong enough outline to start the draft..cause face it, no one will want to read your outline..and let yourself be okay with a ****ty draft. The revisions really are where the magic happens..
     
  10. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps you get a thrill from outlining, a thrill of creation that just isn't there when you writing?

    One way to move this creative thrill into the writing process is not to outline at all, and just define a starting point of the story.
     
  11. RightBastardWriter
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    RightBastardWriter Member

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    You're using your outline as a crutch.

    Take the basics of your outline, the general sweep of your story, then put your outline away and sit and write the actual story.

    Look at it this way. All you're doing right now is wanting to go to the store to buy milk, planning in your head how you'll walk into the store, go to the dairy section, grab the right milk, etc.

    But you're not actually getting in the car and going (or walking out the door and going).

    Stop planning everything to death and write the story.
     
  12. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone, I appreciate it... I'm going to open up my story again - NOT the outline, lol, and have another go :) maybe kick my own arse if I can reach... 0_o
     
  13. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I personally found the rough draft stage to be the most difficult. When I got to revisioning, things started being fun again. Hang in there!
     
  14. 4trevor
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    4trevor New Member

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    Don't beat yourself up in the draft..no one gets it perfect the first time, no matter what they say they have their revelations as the story and characters begin to really take shape. Once you get into dialogue and placing them in scenes and interating, their personalities will flesh out more and you will get new, better ideas about where to take the story. Often, it will astound you, but you're missing out on this now. This is what they mean when they say writing is hard, but get the main points (the conflicts and some semblance of the resolution, even though it very well could change) to make sure you don't hit a wall while writing the draft, and I guarantee you that when you get 1/3 to 1/2 way through, it will get a lot easier..the story may actually even begin to write itself, which is also magical and astounding..just be careful that you don't fall into severe editing as you write the draft..another pitfall that will hamper the first draft. Get it out relatively quick, keep moving forward, and when you have the draft and can see everything all at once, you will know how to make it perfect at that point..
     
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  15. Connie Briscoe
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    Connie Briscoe New Member

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    Are you also talking about it to other people? I've heard that talking about your ideas too much can destroy all desire to write since you get it all out of your system orally.

    And as others said, don't worry about it not being perfect the first time. You can always edit. The best authors in the world have to edit.
     
  16. RightBastardWriter
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    RightBastardWriter Member

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    That's the way to do it.

    Now get in there and kick some story arse.
     
  17. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Use your outlining skills on a mirco level ...outlining/plotting each chapter ?
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually find the reverse is true - when I talk about my ideas they grow, my excitement grows as I see how people react when I 'tell' my story. They also spark ideas I would never have entirely solo.

    Never been a fan of storytelling being a solo occupation, talking really helps me. First, four chapters of first drafts are just a bit dry to write.
     
  19. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    'paralysis by analysis'

    It's a well-known psychological block (not just for writers), called 'paralysis by analysis'. My guess is it has to do with a perfectionistic personality, am I right?

    This wikipedia-link can be a first read, but a web search should help you further to find coping strategies. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis
     

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