1. Akeenestories
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    Akeenestories New Member

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    Outline or Follow Your Heart

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Akeenestories, May 15, 2016.

    I am trying to write a fast-paced, action novel aimed at teens and so I made a basic outline with big plot points and chapter descriptions. As I am writing, I keep coming up with these awesome additions to my story and plots I would like to explore further and I am forced to ask whether or not it will fit within my outline. I know the point I want to get across and my outline encompasses it, but at this point I feel like I am missing out on good opportunities. I could edit my outline, but I am afraid I'll run into my same issue again. Should I just continue to write with a few edits to my outline or just use my start and end points and let the middle run rampant?
     
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  2. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    I use a fluid outline. I start with a very basic outline and as I write, I modify my outline. Usually it means adding more scenes but occasionally it means deleting or changing scenes. Also my "scenes" are just a one sentence or less description though so if you write more for your outline that might not work.
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    this is your rough draft - go wild :) You'll have to edit it anyway! Then in the editing process, you can generously prune :D
     
  4. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    I agree with Koko. Treat it like a road trip: know your starting point and ultimate destination, know those big attractions you want to visit, and the rest is enjoying the journey. Granted, you still have to know how to get from each major plot point to the next, and each should lead you to your ultimate end goal, so you do have to make sure you don't run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. For instance, a subplot involving a group of octogenarian jewel thieves would be entertaining, but it would derail your journey to stopping a zombie apocalypse.
     
  5. Akeenestories
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    Akeenestories New Member

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    Merci! :supergrin:
     
  6. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I used to just write, but found the pace once I was done felt weird. I've been outlining now, it could just be my engineering habits spilling over.
     
  7. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Both. Just like your first draft is a draft, your first outline is a draft.
     
  8. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Someone once said, "An outline is what you ignore while writing," or words to that effect. (I just Googled it, but couldn't find the source.)

    So, you're at that place writers dread (well, some of us, anyway).

    If this is your first draft, I'd follow all those ideas as long as (in your head, not on paper) you can justify their inclusion in the story.

    If this is your second (or any subsequent) draft, but not your this-is-it-spit-n-polish-send-to-the-agent/publisher draft, I'd suggest going back to the outline and working all those ideas in to make sure they fit so you don't have to start over again from scratch (or maybe you want to start over and if that's the case, I won't try to stop you :) ).

    If it's the final draft (spit, polish, agent/publisher) make note of all those ideas and save them for another novel.

    And one last thought: since this is a fast-paced action story, at some point you're gonna have to make the story match the outline in broad strokes at least just so everything you've set up has been knocked down by the end.
     
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  9. Buttered Toast
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    Buttered Toast Active Member

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    I always have new ideas as I go along, I normally write mine out in pen and use sticky notes to add new ideas in with arrows, it's a mess but at least I don't loose the idea! I would hate to have lost a good idea!
     
  10. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    this
    hope you're doing well!
     
  11. IsabellaS
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    IsabellaS Member

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    I do a bit of both. I do a rough outline of each chapter, and then I just write. This really works for me, because I have these main plot points to follow, but I don't let them limit me. Sometimes, a plot point will happen before or after what was originally in the plan. You might have to try out a few different things before you find out what works for you though. Good luck!
     
  12. Likas
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    Likas New Member

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    I have been outlining all the main things that I want to say. I find outlining very helpful and I write much faster when I already know where the story is going and I just have to put it on paper. However, if you feel that the outline you made is no longer what you want to say, write something different by all means. If the story branches too much from your original thought and you no longer know where you are going with it, you can always rewrite the outline to give it a new direction.
     
  13. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    An outline is supposed to be a guide for you. I say write away with your new ideas. Outlines don't always work. I wouldn't create a new outline until or unless you think you need it. I never outline, but I would make one if I ever felt like I needed it to help me in some way.
     
  14. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    Koko is right. There's the battle between plotting and pantsing. In between seems to work. A general idea of where the story is headed is okay, but when the characters evolve or the environment evolves, move with it or else they'll feel restricted for no real reason.

    "Why are you stealing the awesome truck?"
    "I don't know! I feel that I have to for no good reason! Like, pre-determined destiny!"

    Not that extreme. I've got a very (to me) interesting semi-western-fantasy where I have very general ideas. There's a problem to solve and escape at the same time. A few chases and escapes all within the world i built, and then a finish, but i haven't determined those events in the middle and already some of the bad guys have turned out to be great help or hindrance in unexpected to me ways.
     
  15. froboy69
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    froboy69 Member

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    Following my heart is what keeps me going. Then again, my heart tells me to outline at the same time hahaha.
     
  16. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    the whole pants vs plan thing is as old as the hills, i tend to plants , but to plan a little way ahead in my head if not on paper ... i did write an outline to my wip but ihavent remotely stuck to it
     
  17. Nicola
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    Nicola Member

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    I would say outline and stick to the conventions of the genre, it will give you a better chance of getting published. Editors want something they can market easily.

    You can tell a little bit when a story is made up on the go or planned. A plot like Girl On The Train is clearly carefully plotted, also Harry Potter-plenty of detail that you can't get without planning.
     
  18. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    My heart wants me to outline :p
     
  19. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I don't think you can tell a writers process by reading their work. Some writers don't need to or want to work from an outline and still produce great work. It's really not fair to imply all writers need an outline to pull off something complex if they want to publish. The process only matters to the writer.
     
  20. taariya
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    taariya Member

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    Maybe it speaks to my personality or my writing talent, but I have got to outline anything I write beforehand. Otherwise, it comes out a jumbled mess full of inconsistencies (like the first draft of the prologue to my WIP, which I didn't outline ahead of time, instead choosing to go with the flow) or I realize midway through writing it that I'm really not enjoying it--maybe it's just not a good idea, maybe it's boring for me (and probably to readers as well), maybe it doesn't work with what I'm going for in my story but it could work in some other novel. Outlining helps me catch that kind of thing and correct my course before I get in too deep.

    I think it just comes down to distribution of the time spent writing. If you follow your heart, I'm willing to bet you'd finish actually writing the piece faster than someone who outlined first, but then you'd have to spend more time reworking your novel (unless it comes out perfect and makes sense and has consistency on your first try, in which case I envy you). Whereas with outlining you might spend more time writing the piece (especially if you outline chapter by chapter or scene by scene as I do rather than having a generalized sense of things) but you could probably spend less time revising, focusing mainly on things like improving style, efficiency, and detail rather than fixing the plot or characters.

    That hypothesis might be completely wrong, just seems logical to me.
     

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