1. AdamLeliel
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    AdamLeliel Member

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    Keeping track

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AdamLeliel, Dec 4, 2009.

    How do you keep track of your plot? Do you write brief notes on what has happened?

    I'm finding it a little hard to keep track. I have to re-read back over and forget entirely what I've put.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You need a plot outline.
     
  3. DonQuixote
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    Being very new, I'm hesitant to inject an opinion, but here goes.

    If you are yourself, sold on your characters, they will lead you through the plot.

    Characters are usually based upon real people you know or whom you have knowledge of. They will act in predictable ways.

    Follow and stay true to your characters and your story will take shape.
     
  4. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    Yeah, write it out in point form, if that helps you keep track of stuff. You can then plan when would be the best time to throw in that scene that must occur for the story to make sense, later on, when your story has twisted some.
    I know my stories never end up quite where I expected them to be when I began, and point form helped me get going, until I was more under way, and had a better idea of the entirety of the story.
    I didn't realize at the time that the actual problem for me with my last story was that some things didn't quite make sense, and seeing it all written out helped clarify a bunch of things for me about the story, and the reasons behind the actions of the characters.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, you need an outline!
     
  6. AdamLeliel
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    AdamLeliel Member

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    Just to be clear, I'm talking about what I've already put.

    Thanks guys.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Precisely why you need an outline.

    An outline will allow you to go back and sketch out your order of events already written.

    It will then help you going forward to keep things in logical check.

    It may also point out to you areas where you can expand, areas of logical conflict, areas where you have opportunity for exposition.

    Many things!

    Pop in the words plot outline in your favorite browser and you will find a wealth of information on how to construct an outline.
     
  8. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    I couldn't write my story without a proper outline. You absolutely need an outline. :)

    Excellent explanation, Wrey!
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    even a skeleton outline will save you from plot holes; time frame glitches; subplot tangles; character confusion... and many other probs the novelist can fall victim to without an outline...

    and the outline doesn't have to be done up before writing anything... you can do it at any point in the writing process... if, for instance, by the time you get well into your story, you keep forgetting when this or that happened, or what this person or that one said to whoever about whatever whenever, thus find yourself going back to try to find what you can't remember, then it's clear you need to do up an outline...
     
  10. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    As well as an outline (everyone else has already said why), I like to keep notes to help me with continuity. There are a few things that come up in my story, things which I've made up as I go along (things so insignificant that they didnt even come up in character development) which need to be kept consistent.

    An example of this is the fact that my character's mother starts her job at 8am. It seems insignificant, but this ensures that I dont go having her mum giving her a lift to college when she starts at 9am.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I never outline. I have my manuscript, and I have a plan in my head. I keep some loose notes, mostly comprised of research.

    It's different if I'm writing a research paper. But I keep myself open to changes as I go along when I'm working on fiction, and maintaining an outline just gets in the way.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how can you do that with a novel, cog?... or don't you write novels?
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm working on two of them. I have a good handle on where I want them to go, and I have the manuscript for reference if necessary. Besides, I don't easily forget what I wrote, to the degree that I'll know a week later that I want to change a passage to make it clearer.
     
  14. NyeLew
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    I'm the same way, in that I know what I've written and what I want to change, but I find that a well-done outline is a lifesaver. I can still veer off course by tweaking the outline, but I also know where the eventual goal is. It's much easier -- especially if you stop working on a piece for a length of time -- to keep what happened right at the beginning consistent with what's happening right at the end.
     
  15. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    I generally back-track and read over what I wrote. However, if I was going to write a full-length novel, like I am considering now, I would prewrite, write a general outline, and summarize each chapter before going on. However, a lot of times I just start writing without prewriting (trust me -- my English teacher hated me for it!!), ;), but I have a good memory, so I can generally just remember where I am and take off for there. For exampel, if I left one of my charaters in the kitchen, I'll remember, "Oh, yeah, I sent Micah to the kitchen to cook dinner because..." or something of the like.

    Hope that helped -- :)
     
  16. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    If I'm stuck on something, I will usually print off the story or essay and read it through, looking for things to correct, or just read through it again.
     

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