Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mutants vs. vampires, Oct 15, 2008.
How many of you use them?
No, I don't. But lately, I've started to write out important information about my stories for me to look back on. Specifically for one that has involved a lot of research.
Whenever you're writing a story that involves research or complicated biographies of characters, simplification is key, in my opinion.
(Now, please be aware that I'm going to get a little snide. Don't think it's directed at you.)
Often, this idea of "bio pages", I've found, are unnecessary. A long, rambling origin story is only necessary for a particularly ****ed-up character.
I mean, it's cool and all that you're creative and took the time to really flesh out a character, but such things are more useful as just general guidelines. Most especially, if a background/origin element is involved, it should push the story along.
Unless you're Jane Austen.
I also feel that outlines are far too restrictive. I often get much, much better results if I simply have a premise and sit down in front of the word processor and hash it all out as much as I can.
Stephen King referred to it in his book "Misery" as the "hole in the paper". Quite accurate, in my opinion.
So take a premise you like, take down a note or two if the notion hits you, but above all, type your fingers off before your inspiration runs out. Those things have a very swift timer in relative time.
I once spent three hours on a horror story about a bunker full of soldiers being attacked by monsters. During those first three hours, I wrote almost 5 pages. It took me 5 months to complete.
I use a very rudimentary outline. Just the beginning, five to ten pivotal scenes that have to happen for the story to make sense, and the projected ending.
My outlines are very vague with little more than broad chapter summaries and a few author notes so I don't forget specific lines or event's I'd like to try and fit in (I don't always get them in but it's nice to have them saved somewhere in case I ever find a place).
I used one once. It helped me get the story done a lot sooner but it removed all the wonder of surprise and discovery and such, and I feel the story is very stale.
Now I write without them. Though that doesn't mean I just start writing willy-nilly. I usually mull stories over for a good long while (longer stories, that is) so I have lots of ideas in mind before writing, otherwise I'd fall flat. And when I near the ending I might come up with a rough outline of the events left to happen so I don't forget anything important. Sort of like a shopping list of plot points that remain.
Like tetuhi88 and RomanticRose. Just a rough outline of main events, so I don't get lost. When I reach the end though, I might start making more clearer outlines as usually I am to meet a deadline by then (I write in summer vacations, and have to complete the novel before school begins).
I don't outline. I may keep a scrappad of ideas for a story on occasion, but mostly I have a pretty good idea of where the story and the characters are headed at any particular time. The story skeleton itself contains most of the necessary facts, although I may actually have calculated information in my scratchpad (I favor science fiction, and I strive for realism, so some information IS actually calculated).
I find an outline too constraining. The story is dynamic, and there may well be developments that "surprise" me (a sudden realization at some point in the story).
Also, I have a pretty good head for remembering trivial details.
I'd find it more difficult to keep an outline synchronized to the developing story.
The only time I've used an outline was for when I was actually creating my own world. But with the stories I'm actually writing, I don't use outlines. I'm more of a person who just 'goes with the flow'. The flow in my voice of writing can probably suggest that, I don't know. :shrug:
Outlines bore me more than anything else, and they remind me of dumb high school essays.
Most of my outlining is mental, as in lying awake nights planning out the next several scenes. But I definately use paper outlines once in awhile, especially when I have a great idea I don't want to forget or when I'm having trouble keeping the story going in the right direction.
Holy hell, are you my twin? That's exactly what I do as well. It works too...
Dang, I do that too sometimes. I write an outline for the lines they say (important ones) and the important things in that chapter.
Separate names with a comma.