1. Steve T
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    Steve T Member

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    Plot outline

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Steve T, Sep 27, 2011.

    I have got an idea and I am thinking how should I do the plot outline for? Does it need to be very long the outline. Maybe I need to do some brainstorming as well. How amount of time shokuld i do plan, reseach, charaters bio, weeks, months and years I just need to understand that stage before I start the writing stage? I know how improtant this is for any writer as I need to get to know my plot and my charaters beforehand. So it would make it easier to write the novel if I do this kind of thing. Or is it best for me to just write?
     
  2. jjonz
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    jjonz New Member

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    Just start writing, outlines can delay some people.
     
  3. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is no set way to write.

    Do you feel you could write without an outline? Then go ahead and dive right in. Are you the sort of person who needs organised notes to produce something you deem worthwhile? Then plan in a way you would find useful. Of course, if you haven't written much fiction then you might need to experiment with both and find out what works best for you.


    Personally, I keep an idea in mind for several months before I even start outlining. Outlining lasts approx. 3~6 weeks and then I go into the draft. My outlines start from random scenes that each expand backwards+forwards until they connect to one another. This means that the beginning and endings are the very last scenes to be planned. These outlines tend to end up around 20~35k. But this is specific to what works for me - not to anyone else. I've found this is the only way I can get a coherent first draft out with few plot holes/inconsistencies when I come to write it but others might considering it over-planning.
     
  4. Steve T
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    Steve T Member

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    I think I plan it first and thanks for the advice.:)

    I think you're right. I will plan for such a long time but I am looking forard to wrting whatever the plot I come up with.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    you have to experiment and find what suits you best. As for myself I find an outline (even a quite rough one as the ones I make) helps me get my thoughts organized and have something to lean back on instead of finding myself stuck because at some point (when the first inspiration fade out) I don't know how to move on from where I am. An outline is as long as you need, some people do a very thorough outline of each chapter and some just list the most important events and leave the transitions between them up to the imagination to work out. Some people say they ruin the fun of writing the story and some people can't write without them. You need to figure out which category you are, but I recomend at least making some kind of plan for the story before starting, because as I said, otherwise it's easy to get stuck a few chapters in. it's a great help for beginners knowing how the story will end before they start writing it.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Before you write something, you should have a good idea of what you want to accomplish. That's true for anything - short story, novel or anything else. If this is your first project, I would recommend jotting some notes down and doing at least a rough outline. You may also want to sketch our one or two of your main characters - what they're like, what they do, that kind of thing. Then, when you sit down to write, you'll have a sense of direction. As you write, you will probably find that new ideas and nuances occur to you, enriching your characters and your story, sometimes radically so. For that reason, your outline should probably be a loose sketch of what you want to accomplish.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    All you need to understand is the characters, the setting, and what you think you want to do. Over or under prepare as you see fit, there is no best approach to writing.
     
  8. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    I'm a big fan of planning. I can't think of a story and write it without rambling, and I'm jealous of those who can! Once I have the character descriptions, setting, and plot all written out, I know exactly what's going to happen and therefore exactly what I need to write. That's just me, however. When I write, I feel like every sentence should be leading up to something, so I plan ahead to know what that something is.
     
  9. Chivalrous Tart
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    Chivalrous Tart Member

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    I have this exact same issue. I prefer to have a vague guideline, just to keep the action moving. I tend to get stuck describing stupid things, or I lose track of where my characters are. In one of my older stories, I had the character entering three or four bathrooms throughout the story (It was a 2000 word story!) because whenever I just "wrote" and started my writing journey, I'd get horribly lost. I treat an outline kind of as map, where I know the landmarks and lay of the land, but I am still allowed to take detours to explore and build characters. Sticking strictly to a guideline is too constraining, and it makes your prose and story sound forced. To have your story be unpredictable, it's good for you to get a little bit lost in your writing, so your reader can't know where you're going because you don't know either.
     
  10. Steve T
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    Steve T Member

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    Thank you and yeah I will be doing that.
    Thanks for the advice and I am going to use it wisely.
    I rather be over prepared
    Thank you. All I know at the moment its a thiller.
    That what I would want, thank you.
     
  11. thayamoviete
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    thayamoviete New Member

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    What I do is use kind of a pyramid: Beginning, rising action, point of no-return, falling action, ending.
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    My style is like Yoshiko's: I mull over an idea for a long while. I plan a lot, but I plan in my head, not on paper (or in software). Some things turn out to need more formal planning -- complicated timelines and the like. But you don't have to write like that. Suck it and see. Write, and see what works for you.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that it all depends on what works for you - and my advice isn't worth much, because i haven't yet finished a novel-length (the length that I want to achieve) work to my satisfaction. But that won't stop me from opinionating. :)

    In my case, detailed planning tends to drain the excitement out of a project, and I'm not at all bothered by writing lousy prose or having to throw away writing and do it over. So for me, minimal planning is best.

    ChickenFreak
     
  14. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    I used to be an adamant believer in outlining, but lately, I've found that if I just decide where the story starts and have an idea and a plan for where it will end, as well as a few things along the way, and just turn my characters loose through the middle, it works out much better than if I try to plot out every twist and turn. However, I do think there are questions a writer needs to ask before they begin writing: Who are these characters? Why are they important? What are they at the beginning and who will they be at the end? And so on. Lots and lots of questions. I find the story usually comes together on its own this way, with or without the need for a physical outline.
     

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