1. Morgan Stelbas

    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    I can't seem to follow my own outline. Does anyone else experience this?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Morgan Stelbas, Jul 31, 2020.

    I'm an unpublished writer. And I've never thought my work was good enough to even consider being published.

    However, about six years ago, inspiration struck me hard and I wrote an outline of a story that I felt strongly about. I then wrote the 210,000-word story in a couple of weeks. Shortly afterward I thought maybe I should look into getting it published. So, I looked around and stumbled on this site. I then spent a few months reading and learning, and asking and reading some more on this site. One of the many things I learned was that my story was way too wordy and thus too long to be considered by any publisher, especially as a first-time author.

    So I went back to the drawing board and re-worked it. I lessened it down to about 95,000 words and then had some friends read the draft. I got good reviews, but while waiting for their responses, I couldn't just sit still and wait, so I kept writing, starting on a sequel to the story. I completed the sequel and then realized there were some things I should change in the first story to add more to the sequel.

    I went back to the drawing board again, wrote a third outline, and this one is so totally different from the original now, which means the sequel needed to be re-worked for the third time. I got frustrated and abandoned the project for over two years. My reviewers haven't seen the story since and now they wouldn't recognize it at all if they read it again.

    My teenaged nephew is writing stories, asking me to critique his, and this ignited the spark in me to work on my own story again. But, I keep making more changes. Every time I think I'm done and go through it to edit it, I end up finding ways to better link the characters to the plot, and to add more suspense but veering from my outline.

    Once again, I'm nowhere near the third outline. I've veered so far away, even changing the names of my MCs, that I've given up on following the outline altogether! I know that many published works go through a few changes, but I've lost count how many drafts I have (around 7 complete, and dozens of major changes and overhauls in even in those ones) and I'm pulling my hair out every time I'm editing and my brain fires off more ideas that require even more major changes.

    I've decided that I'm going to get it self-published, and I will try to stick with the recommended length, but where's the line between changing for the better and going overboard because of my own perfectionism and fear? How do I decipher between a good idea, and my own brain trying to make sure it's perfect? And if an outline is the key to a great story, how do I stick to it?
     
  2. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber oike despatio Contributor

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    Well, it seems to me that you have to stop editing somewhere and actually publish the thing.
     
  3. Morgan Stelbas

    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Great answer. Except... my entire (albeit long-winded) question lies in the "somewhere" of your suggestion. How do I know when I've reached "somewhere"? Do published authors have a moment where their story just feels finished? Is it like falling in love? You won't know how it feels until it happens?
     
  4. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber oike despatio Contributor

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    I don't know. It doesn't appear from your post that you've so much edited the same book three times as you have written three completely different books. I mean, is it really the same story anymore? You said yourself that the readers of the original "draft" wouldn't even recognize the third iteration.
     
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  5. Morgan Stelbas

    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    True, I guess. I would still like to know if this happens to anyone else out there. Am I the only weirdo who can't stick to my own outline? Should I even bother with an outline? Is there a correlation with not having an outline and the book not selling?
     
  6. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    No, published authors don't "finish", they just run out of time. We have deadlines, self-imposed or imposed on us. It gets done when we stop having time to revise.
     
  7. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Swaggin like a Baggins Contributor

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    I'm not published, and I don't ever follow outlines. I don't think the two are related, but who knows? The thing about outlines for me is I use them as starting points, but I never let it dictate to me what happens. Sometimes I write further notes down during writing a chapter so I can remember where I wanted to take the story, but outlines usually happen at the beginning of a draft and at the end, when I'm ordering the events/writing final notes on things. I have also changed things pretty drastically from the first draft to the one I'm on now, and there's part of me that will never feel finished with it. But as Friedrich said, sometimes you just have to shove yourself out the door and hope for the best.
     
  8. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    For what it's worth, that's actually impressive.

    So, let me get this straight... You wrote a story, then you outlined a sequel, then you wrote an outline for a third story... that is also somehow the first story?

    It sounds to me like you've came up with two completely different stories here, they just happen to have the same sequel.

    I couldn't say, but I would assume that if nothing you write seems good enough, you are probably well passed that line.

    I don't know how it is for other writers, but when I get a really good idea I tend to go into what I affectionately call Mad Scientist Mode. It's that state of mind where you're so enthusiastic about what you're going to create that there isn't really much room for self-doubt.

    You know, like: "Mwahahaha! Oh, I'll show them a good story! I'll show them all!"

    ...Passion, basically. Even when it passes, it tends to leave this lingering, surprisingly sturdy conviction that the idea I had is worth committing to.

    I guess what I'm saying is, a change that is a legitimate improvement is motivating: It should get you fired up because you recognize it will make the story even better than you thought it would be. On the other hand, changes you make just to alleviate doubts you had about the story, even if they just make you a little less anxious for a while, are probably just a coping mechanism.

    Well, first of all, that only applies if you are actually an outliner. As in, the type of writer who works best by following a detailed plan they came up with in advance. Others are discovery writers, who make everything up as they go along without really knowing where the story is going or what the characters are going to do. (And then heavily edit it all to be sure it makes sense. Basically they do it all backwards.)

    It turns out we're just sorta wired differently. I literally can't discovery write even if I try because my brain starts outlining the plot on its own, whereas other writers can't follow an outline to save their lives because their characters just won't follow the plan, or something the author didn't foresee happens and changes the circumstances. And then there's a lot of people who are somewhere in a spectrum between those two.

    Secondly, even very hardcore outliners like me don't necessarily follow the outline religiously. Changes sometimes occur, because it was necessary to resolve problems in the narrative, or because I thought of a better way to achieve something, or sometimes it just happens. I've had characters end up with different personalities because the ones I intended them to have just didn't feel natural for them, or a scene may turn out differently than planned for some reason. Very often I find these changes to be improvements, or at least acceptable. Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts.

    The outline is really just a crude map telling your where the story should go and roughly which path it needs to take to get there, something to keep it all on track and let you foresee potential issues ahead of time. You don't have to commit to it 100%. Indeed, sometimes it would be a bad idea to do so.

    Finally, and this is just a personal theory of mine, but I think most if not all writers end up in this "experimental phase" somewhere between novice dabbling and settling on a distinct style. This phase can last for years, during which time the writer will have a very hard time committing to a single, consistent project. Rather they become prone to abandoning stories the moment they think of something else, because they're still learning what sort of stories they want to tell. Maybe you're going through a variant of that? Perhaps your style and preferences are simply in a natural state of flux because your perspective has gradually changed while you've been working on this story? Especially with that two year hiatus you mentioned, who knows what influences you picked up over that period.

    All I can say is that it got much easier for me to stay focused on a project in the long run once I started listening to that mad scientist who lives somewhere in my head - the cackling lunatic raving about this grand vision that he has absolute faith in. There was always something off with my stories before, like I was missing something important, and key was to realize that "good ideas" are meaningless - they're dime a dozen, anyone can have one. What matters is that the story is genuinely meaningful and important to me, that I'm passionate about telling it. There's a difference between just wanting to tell stories and having stories you want to tell, on an intrinsic personal level.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
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  9. Morgan Stelbas

    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Thank you! This was so helpful to me!

    To clarify, I had an idea and wrote an outline (as a method of trying to grow as an author). I wrote that idea down and knew in advance it would probably have a sequel and wrote it accordingly. Then I changed the prequel to reduce the word count. The parts I removed had an effect on the sequel so I went to change those, and that was my only motivation for editing the sequel. While editing the sequel, I started re-writing entire chapters, and then that morphed the story more so that I felt the changes should be linked to something in the first novel, which prompted even more changes. At this point, I felt I was on this strange back and forth decline... so I went back to the drawing board to write a new outline to include all my new ideas. I even spent weeks on world-building with writing backstories for the MCs and some supporting characters and even creating a massive timeline from the apocalyptic time to the MCs current time which is a difference of about 150 years. The timeline included what led to the apocalypse, and then the subsequent events worldwide afterward. (As you can see, I am a detail-oriented person, but not in a good way, and this trait sometimes gets away from me). This world-building inspired more ideas, and I realized I could make this into a series of three novels, but I didn't want it to be boring, which made me go back and analyze each chapter, each conversation to make sure they weren't veering from the plot or dragged out to be boring.

    All in all, I have about eight versions of the first book, five versions of the sequel, and I haven't written the third book yet, as I want to finalize things before continuing. But that's been my challenge. I'm also worried that writing the third installment will bring more changes to the first two. I don't want to delete anything I write in case I want to use a piece of it later, so that's why every time I saw I was making major overhauls, I just saved it as a new version.

    I guess I've always been a discovery writer, even as a little kid. I would just think of the opening scene and take it from there. Later in life, with all my research, I guess I thought maybe I need to go the outline route in order to improve as a writer. I also thought that because I'm structured with other things in life, like how much planning I do in advance for vacations, or how much I list out tasks for projects around the house, so wouldn't it make more sense if I followed a structure as a writer? I guess not. As I write, the story just forms itself, as if I'm watching a movie, and even though I know the end, I'm not sure how things get there. Maybe that would explain my "heavily editing" to the point where I changed many elements in the story. That editing you mentioned that discovery writers do may explain all the versions I've created.

    Or, you may be on to something with this "experimental phase" theory.
     
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  10. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    There's nothing wrong with spending some time on careful and elaborate planning, and that may even be recommended for a large project that's going to span multiple books. Some writers (Tolkien, Herbert, etc) have created rich, dense settings and narratives because of this tendency. Just beware of World Builder's Disease - perpetually editing the details of your setting can become a distraction or a subconscious stalling tactic, since it feels like getting work done while avoiding the scary part, which is to actually tell your story.

    Anyway, it sounds to me like you are in fact a very organized planner-type. This is not a bad thing, but as you say, it can "get away from you," so it's something you need to control.

    My general advice would be to ruthlessly prioritize story relevance. World building details are fine but only important when they factor into the plot. The main reason to worldbuild in the first place is to make sure you don't run into setting inconsistencies when you are actually telling the story. Any information you add to the setting that does not turn out to factor into the plot is irrelevant. That doesn't mean having a basic idea of how everything fits together is a wasted effort, mind you, but you need to invest the majority of your creative energy into stuff that actually matters within your story. So, try to exercise good judgement in this regard.

    The fact that you just sorta "realized" that you could add a third installment to the series has me a bit concerned since that implies you didn't have a definitive ending in mind. If you have an entire series planned, then altering the outline of one book to maintain consistency with the others is actually what you're supposed to do, but this is why it's important to have a very clear vision of the entire project. For example, multi-installment stories like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars had one major storyline working towards a specific conclusion, in which case planning everything out ahead of time tends to be very beneficial.

    On the other hand, if your series is the type where you can just keep adding new stories because they are all more or less self-contained episodic installments while still sharing a continuity (for example, the way the James Bond series works) then your approach is rather impractical. You can't plan ahead for every single novel you might want to write for such a setting. In that case it's much less of a hassle to simply decide that whatever new idea you have for a book must be in continuity with the stories that preceded it - you can't retroactively alter your established canon. You have to resolve to uphold the causality of your setting, so to speak.

    So the question is: This third part, is it the actual ending? Does it conclude the entire trilogy is a satisfying, thematically appropriate way? Or is it just another link a chain you could simply keep adding to? The answer is going to matter a lot.

    Well, I think children are pretty much discovery writers by default - they "make stuff up", because they are very emotional, intuitive creatures who make impulsive decisions. Outlining is something you sorta grow into once you start to understand narrative structures and you develop the ability to predict long term consequences.

    Honestly, given how detail-oriented and highly premeditated your approach seems to be, I would peg you as more likely to be an outliner than a discovery writer.

    Actually, I think you may have been on the right track the first time. If your natural inclination is to plan, then it makes sense to assume you are a planner. Outlining can still be difficult and cause you to overthink things, don't assume that means it's wrong for you.

    The story forming itself on its own, knowing how it will end ahead of time - this happens to me too. That's pretty much what I meant when I said my mind is inherently set to outlining. In particular, knowing the ending even if you're not sure how to get there is something I would consider a very characteristic outliner trait.

    Hm, I'm not so sure about that: Obviously we outliners will edit our outlines as we think of new ideas. It wasn't my intention to convince you that you're not an outliner, I only brought it up because you seemed to think that outlining was the only way to write a book and I wanted to point out that this isn't the case.

    For clarity, here are my (probably over-simplified) definitions of these terms:

    Outliners: Will come up with a plan for the story before writing it. Tend to view characters as puppets or storytelling tools first and foremost, or cogs in a narrative machinery where everything has to fit and move together in order to achieve the desired results. Are more comfortable working according to their plan because this provides maximum control over the narrative. Surprises are typically considered a bad thing since they can throw the story off its rails and make the writer lose control of where the story is going. Outlining is a logical approach and outliners tend to view the narrative as something that should be carefully sculpted, or assembled like a machine, or steered like a vessel. Discovery writers may view outlining as creatively restrictive, artificial, overly anal-retentive and unadventurous.

    Discovery Writers:
    Will start with a basic idea and premise and then dive into it, making it up as they go just to see what they end up with, without having a conclusion in mind. Tend to view characters as living people and often claim to have no control over them, to the point where they don't know what a character will decide to do until they actually do it. Will often describe their creative process as "the story taking on a life of it's own," something they tend to treat as a positive. Surprises are typically considered a good thing since they may take the story in exciting new directions the author didn't expect. Discovery writing in an intuitive approach and discovery writers tend to view the narrative as something to be explored, or a living thing that should be allowed to grow organically. Outliners may view discovery writing as creatively risky, impulsive, random, unstructured and unreliable.

    And, again, there is a spectrum between these two. I have encountered writers who, for example, start out with a basic outline but then happily diverge from it once they begin writing the narrative itself. And that's fine, if that's what works best for them.

    You do strike me as more of an outliner than a discovery writer, but this is sort of a subjective thing that you pretty much have to figure out for yourself.

    Just don't assume that there is a specific way you have to construct your stories because some instruction manual or teacher said so: Your creative process is something very personal to you as an individual. Nor should you assume that your entire approach is flawed just because you're having some trouble staying focused on a concept, because that's something we've all had to deal with.

    If you are at a stage where you are still subconsciously trying to figure out what kind of writer you are, then it does make perfect sense you're having trouble figuring out what stories to tell. My only advice in that regard is to meditate on what sort of stories are especially important or beautiful to you, and what exactly about them appeals to you.

    If, just for example, you happen to really like post-apocalyptic stories, then what is about them that resounds with you? Suppose you isolate that particular aspect of the genre, could you then transplant it into a different genre? Or, inversely, if there are stories of other genres that you never the less really enjoyed, could you import the relevant aspects to the genre you are most inclined to write?

    See, I believe that what really makes stories meaningful and important to us isn't necessarily the broad strokes, the rigid definitions. Often it's the more sublime stuff: Themes, styles, attitudes, sentiments, and so on. It's by realizing this we discover our styles. Ultimately, it comes down to perceiving - even just glimpsing - the aesthetics of our own souls. In that sense, every story that has moved your heart could be considered a mirror.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  11. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    Can't really add to what others have said, but your original question, yes I experience it as well.

    I have a......well, it was supposed to be a very brief fiction piece of 500 words, it became a 5,000 short story, and is now somewhere in the area of novel in progress which I WANT to be a stand alone novel but may become a trilogy because my characters keep taking on lives of their own!!

    I have to stop giving birth to all these fascinating characters that demand their own stories in the larger story - there simply isn't time/space to write them all!

    I know exactly what happens in chapter 1, etc but I review the chapter and think well, I need to add this or that....

    My work around has been to write a series of short stories, each has a different central character which allows me to explore them....guess what happened? I have several short stories and my novel has stalled. Sigh.

    I haven't found a solution that works for me yet but I am glad other people have similar issues.
     
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  12. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    "I can't seem to follow my own outline. Does anyone else experience this?"

    Yes. I also can't follow your outline. ;)
     
  13. Dalantri

    Dalantri Member

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    I can definitely empathize with this. I’ve had/having similar problems.

    Years ago I came up with my idea for a story. Eventually I even wrote a chapter or two. But after writing, I didn’t have a direction and eventually lost the fuel to continue. I realized that while I had an idea, I didn’t have a plot. QUITE similarly, my nephew and daughter both started writing, which reignited my fire. That was eight years ago. The plot has grown into five (at least) strong subplots. The main concept is that this world will change dramatically or even die.

    My problem lies in which character should I have as the lead? Should I have four individual books that lead to the culmination of the fifth? Should I start with the last chapter of the story and write the history later?

    The more I learn about my characters, the more they create other people that I find interesting to give some history for them! My premise STILL exists but it keeps getting fatter with its cast. I feel that if I don’t tell these histories, the main characters will seem flat or not have the audience appeal to care about the story.

    What do I do?
     
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  14. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Life is Dynamite Contributor

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    I do general outlines.... Not fixed. So its constantly changing. Some of my WIPs dont even have outlines.

    My 2 big ones do, and ive deviated a lot from the outlines on those. Not by so much that it changes the entire story, but enough to where a big chunk of my outline is pretty much useless.
    If the story just naturally flows away from the outline, i dont see the harm. Its pretty much writing itself, right? As my painting teacher used to say: "trust the process"
     
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  15. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The one and only time I set out a truly outline and stuck to it, my story was too obvious and it was a bitch and a half to try and correct. I found it easier to move along into things with a general direction in my mind than a true outline, and I also found that I run into a lot of cool ideas that I never would have directly following a laid out series. Yes, I fully realize this won't work for most and becomes more difficult the longer the work is. I also realize this is King's style, which is give or take something good or certainly not. But I've enjoyed running stories this way and found them much easier to correct and write. I got stuck way too much with an outline. Natural flow is definitely something to factor.
     
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  16. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I haven't read the rest of this thread, because my first reaction is so strong.

    DON'T rush to get it published!!!! Just keep working on it, till you know you've got it right. You keep changing major elements of your story, which means it still isn't done. What's the rush?

    Forget your outline. Your story has outgrown it. That was just a vision and plan you had at the start. What you now have is something different. You need to work with what you've got now.

    If you are seeing ways to improve the story, better links between characters and plot, more suspense, etc ...add them in. Work with them. Your first (and even second) drafts are just that. Drafts. You still have a long way to go. Don't saw off the limb that you're sitting on, by publishing too soon. There is nothing to be gained from that. And a lot to lose.

    The answer to the question you've asked in the last paragraph ...how do I know whether I've got it right or not ...is simple. Distance.

    Give it distance. Lots of distance. Stop tinkering. Let it sit till you've forgotten the reason you wrote it, and certainly until you have forgotten the thoughts you had while you were writing it. Wait till you can look at it as if somebody else wrote it. As if you were sitting with pen in hand, doing a critique for somebody else. Then you'll have no trouble figuring out what works and what doesn't. This distancing process can take weeks, months ...even years. The more distance the better.

    With a sequel you don't have the freedom to create everything from scratch, the way you did with your original novel. You have to work within the perimeters your first story has set. Obviously make an effort to get your first story right. But it's important to move on. Realise your sequels WILL be hamstrung by the decisions you've taken with the first story. Strive for continuity, accept those limitations and work with what you've got. Learn to forget about what might have been.

    Meanwhile do what you can to study the craft. And do critiques for other people ...either as full beta reads, or even just here in our Workshop. Develop your skills at doing objective criticism.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
  17. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Lots of good advice here. My own two cents:

    Think of your outline the way an architect would think about a floor plan for a client. The client wants something in particular that the floor plan won't accommodate, so the architect changes the design. Sometime later, the client wants something else, so the design gets changed again. The outline is a malleable tool for a grand design, a method of working out what fits and what doesn't fit, and catching inconsistencies before they are transformed into wood and tile and concrete.

    But the client can't live in the floor plan, so eventually the house has to be built. Likewise, the novel has to see the light of day. As long as it's internally consistent, don't worry about whether that same consistency has to extend to the sequel or sequels. You'll probably have to tell an entirely different story by then, set in a different world where the context is different.

    Perhaps you can find a clever way to stitch the two stories together someday, as Isaac Asimov did with the Foundation and the Robot series. But you've got to have material to stitch together first.
     
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  18. Thom

    Thom Active Member

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    Your book is never going to be finished.
    I've been writing a story for several years now (off and on) and I keep thinking of things, twists and explanations, plot points and story arcs to feed into the sequels. And, of course, just like you something done in the sequel necessitates a change in the first one, and on and on and on...
    It's never going to end. But it has to stop. You (I) will always be looking at it, telling ourselves that we should have added this, or subtracted that. That's normal. I have to believe everyone does it.
    Our books are never going to be finished, but at some point we have to put the last period at the end of the last sentence, and call it 'done.'
    Otherwise, it never will be.
     
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  19. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Somebody once said. "No work of art is ever finished. It is only abandoned." There's a lot of truth in that. After I write a book, I can think of a dozen ways I could have done it better. But you have to say "Fuck it" at some point and "call it done," in Thom's words.
     
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  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    this is why i don't outline... ive written 20 plus books , published 8 so far, without outlining so its not entirely necessary.

    I wrote a beautiful outline for my first novel, then wrote a completely different book... haven't outlined since. I generally start writing with a rough idea in my head and see where it goes
     
  21. Thom

    Thom Active Member

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    Same here! I actually find making an outline tedious. I just want to get started.
    I usually know where it starts, the middle and then the end. It's just threading it all together after that.
     
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  22. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think it really ever is 'ready' so if you're waiting for that moment it may never come because you and others will likely always be finding something that needs improving - and at some point you have to start the publishing process going.

    I would listen to my beta readers and if I were self-publishing I'd pay for a professional editor to correct it because that's what you'd get if you published traditionally. I think every piece of work should be professionally edited before publication and certainly before expecting people to pay for it. I tend to avoid self-published work because of the mistakes that seem to be littered in them. If the author can't put in the time and money, then I'm certainly not investing my time and hard earned money. So if they can't afford to offer me the best version of their work then maybe self-publishing isn't for them.

    Re-writing and re-working the story isn't really enough. For me it's one of the first things I do. Then when I'm happy the story is complete, consistent and works well I tend to offer it to beta to concentrate on the story aspect. If they think it's pretty much good then I do line by line edits thinking of the technical side of things. Then I offer it to beta readers than are more skilled than I am and ask them to do a line edit. That's where I'd then look for a professional to look it over and spend the money for a better outcome. If You haven't showed betas and asked them to check things through you're work probably isn't ready for anyone to pay money to read. You could make it free on Kindle or wattpad. So you can give put your work out there without publishing and if you feel it's not good enough then maybe or you don't want to maybe publishing isn't for you because you have to sell your work and believe in it and your abilities and if you don't you may not get very far.

    On outlining it can be helpful but I find it personally a waste of my time. I spent months figuring everything out then when I come to writing it I wander off and the outline is useless. Wasted 3 months. The only outlining I do is for my characters to ensure they have depth and an arc I can follow wherever the plot goes. World-building gets done in the process of the writing. I just write chapter by chapter.
     
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  23. Morgan Stelbas

    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    I have been looking into the cost of getting it edited professionally before publishing. I, too, have seen so many self-published blunders out there and definitely don't want to be lumped in with them. I also have some beta readers (but only for the story itself, not for editing purposes), which is why I'll hire a professional. I also personally do line by line editing myself, but don't trust my own knowledge on grammar rules, which is what I'm hoping the professional can help me with.

    Thanks for this feedback!
     
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  24. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    o_O 15,000 words a day. Quite some going!
     
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  25. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I think that's possible, if you're the sort who gets stuck in and doesn't stop writing except to eat and perform other necessary functions. I remember days, when I was writing the first draft of my novel, when I went for 16 hours straight—no interruptions or other committments—and easily produced 20,000 words or so. (A couple of long chapters.) But those days were balanced by other days where only about 1,000 words or less came out.

    I was SO focused on writing that novel though! I hated being taken away from it, and made to go to 'real' work, or on holiday, etc. However, once the novel was finished, my productivity sagged to zero. Some writers have the knack of being totally productive and can produce a lot of work in a short time. I can do that myself, but only in fits and starts! :) It takes me a long time to get re-started.
     
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