1. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Outlining (Assistance Needed)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Taylee91, Oct 20, 2010.

    How Do You Outline?

    Hi guys. I'm currently working on a story of mine, and I want to start laying out the foundation. But I don't know exactly where to start. I'm just wondering how everyone else outlines. Do you make out scenes of action, describing what your characters do from chapter to chapter? Or do you create scenes around the emotional/goal-reaching progression of your characters? I just need a few suggestions, please :D
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Sure Tay, I love to help you. :)

    Okay, so here's what I do. I'll outline it for you in steps in chronological order.

    1. Give the MC an ultimate goal. What is his overall, main drive throughout the novel and what does he wish to reach at the end?

    2. What is his motive? What would most hinder his success? What types of things threaten him the most, or would most stand in his way, and WHY? Use this to develop your antagonist.

    3. Now that the protag and antag have been decided, think about what steps the MC will take in his journey. Break down the big goal into little ones.

    4. Make an obstacle to fit each of the abovementioned objectives. This could step new antagonists and new supporting-character protags.

    5. Also, you'll want to keep track of character turning points and changes in motivation. Make sure to keep track of when and where the character will experience a change, and how the surrounding events will play in.

    I do my outlines kind of like timelines, with boxes and arrows. I normally map out my outlines with paper and pens.

    Also, before writing a chapter I have a "Scene checklist" of what will occur in that chapter.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Im a discovery writer more then an outliner, but when i do outline i focus on

    "Whats the conflict?"
    "What is thous involved agendas?"
    "What themes and modes is present?"
    "What is the scenes tilting point/s? = When does the conflict in the scene change in some way? (When a discussion about tactics sliding into emotional undertones is a tilt, a physical conflict tilts when someone change the environment by setting the hose on fire etc.)
     
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  4. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Thank you Mal and w176 :D I will take both of those suggestions to heart and begin!
     
  5. Jones6192
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    Jones6192 Member

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    Write a Wiki-format article about your story and characters. That's what I do. :D
     
  6. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I'll give that a try, Jones6192. Thank you. I probably don't have enough info to really fill them out though :D I shall certainly give it a shot.
     
  7. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    I do a plot outline, placing everything in order and considering narrative elements on a seperate note.

    But don't be rigid with outlines; they're maps. When you take the journey when writing, you'll discover detours, scenic routes... and dead ends. Outlines serves as waypoints, in the event you get lost in the plot.
     
  8. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I mentally outline. Mental outlines tend to be the most powerful for me. I mentally plan out what the story is about, what are the major events that will serve as pillars for the story, and then determine where it all is headed. I later mentally plan out scenes more specifically and then try to get a plan for what each chapter will cover.

    But I personally never found much use for outlines or trying to approach it like a story too much. I just sort of sit back and let the character's tell me what is going to happen and how it's going to happen. I know many have formulas to approaching fiction but IMO, the best fiction is the one that can make you forget that it is fiction at least temporarily and I don't feel a systematic approach really gets you there. Like any other kind of art, a great deal of spontaneity is needed.

    Thats not to say that you shouldn't plan. You should. But in terms of what I do personally, I rely on mental outlines only and just let that carry me out when I write. So far, I've been satisfied with how it's helped me in all areas of writing.
     
  9. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I mentally outline too. But then the scenes start to get all mixed up up there, and *sigh* I have to resort to an outline or else I will go mad :D

    Thank you for the suggestion. My brother mentally outlines his stuff all the time, so I can see what some people can really get out of their characters and stories. He's pretty good.

    BTW, where'd you get your avatar? Is it a frame from some movie or something? I've been wondering.
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Re: the 'goal' thing Mallory mentions, sometimes it's an idea to think about what the end of the story is and work back, thinking of how it would be achievable--'plotting backwards' in other words.

    Or you could try and think about what your vital scenes are, and arrange them--mentally or on paper--in a beginning, middle, and end fashion, and expand on them from there.
     
  11. helltank
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    helltank Member

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    I outline in my mind, and I usually don't cover details as I like to write what I feel when the time comes. My mental outline for a story would be something like this:

    Who's the protag?
    Who's the antag?
    What are the obstacles preventing the protag from simply killing the antag?
    What's the ending?
    Are there any concepts, like magic, introduced? If so, what are they?
     

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