Author Topic: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips  (Read 1133 times)

Lysmata Debelius

[Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« on: September 23, 2018, 05:59:15 AM »
Not everyone plans and outlines, and that's cool, everyone is different  :angel: But for those who do: what works for you?

Something that helps me a lot is to keep a separate page on which I list questions as they come up. Stuff like "but why doesn't the main character just phone her mother?" or "Can you launch a missile without access to electricity?"
That way,  whenever I come across a plot hole or problem, instead of stopping me in my tracks and discouraging me, I just add my question to the list.

Also, when I'm not feeling up to full on plotting and planning, I just open my questions list and find an easy one to solve. :)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 03:02:20 PM by Lysmata Debelius »
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy and Science Fiction


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Al Stevens

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Re: Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2018, 08:07:01 AM »
I plan (outline, plot) only for non-fiction. I develop an outline of subjects, topics and subtopics. The outline eventually becomes the TOC. The subjects become chapters.

I developed that approach when I was trad publishing technical books. Acquisition editors wanted submissions to include outlines, so that was where I always started.

The outline is organic, changing its hierarchy and growing and shrinking as I write chapters, each into its own document file.

This approach requires a word processor with a strong and flexible outline view and a master document model that actually works. After trying almost every one, I settled on OpenOffice Writer.

For fiction, I write SOTP, but that's another discussion.

And, as always, use what works for you. There is no one right way.
Genres: mystery, music, programming, science fiction, historical fiction


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Al Stevens is a retired author of computer programming books. For fifteen years he was a senior contributing editor and columnist for Dr. Dobb's Journal, a leading magazine for computer programmers. Al lives with his wife Judy and a menagerie of cats on Florida's Space Coast where he writes by day and plays piano, string bass, and saxophone by night.
 
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elleoco

Re: Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2018, 08:51:50 AM »
After I have a new story developed enough in my mind to write down anything, I use Scrivener's outlining function and write down a sentence or phrase for anything that will be a chapter or scene. From my current WIP: "JJ returns with advice." Sometimes I write a more expanded description, which I suppose helps me get going at the time, but which almost always ends up not being quite right as I have new ideas as I actually write the story. Another advantage is that after I make that original scene list I can see how much story I actually have. Short scene list = novella or think about things some more. Long scene list = novel.

Scrivener used to have a section for each scene and for the project as a whole called "Document Notes" and "Project Notes," which I used for reminders and questions as I went along. The Windows version still has that, but the newest Mac version has a changed approach, and I now have those notes in a Bookmarked document, but that still means I can keep it visible as I go.

The Doctor

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2018, 08:44:18 PM »
I've found that what works for me is writing brief outlines for the first scenes that come to me when starting a new story. Then I will write a clean first draft of those scenes (usually they're not in chronological order). Afterwards, I'll read over what I've written and come up with scenes that connect the ones I've written down.

In the past, I've done the whole 'Act One Key Event' outline which has worked well.

This time though, the 'scenes' method has meant my productivity has increased and I've done about 10k words in a week (I also have a day job).
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 12:26:28 AM by The Doctor »

 
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cecilia_writer

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2018, 09:26:46 PM »
I am not a big outliner (this is an understatement!) but a sort of planning process has evolved over the years whereby I can only plan via hand-written notes. I have separate notebooks for each series and use them first for an initial very rough outline of the whole plot which can be very basic and only takes up half a page at most. Then I will probably list some characters and after that I will plan where I'm going to start. For my mystery series I won't have more than a sentence or two for the first couple of chapters, and maybe a sentence in mind to open with, and after that I'll just wing it, but for the historical novel I'm currently working on, I find I need to pause and scribble a paragraph or so for each chapter before starting to write it.
Not sure why I'm happier planning in notebooks. Maybe it's just because I can never resist buying more of them.
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 
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CarlieHamilton

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2018, 09:59:18 PM »
I am finding that I work better with more of a plan/outline.

I usually like to take down my initial brainstorming via handwriting. And misc Google Notes as I think of questions or ideas.
I then transfer these to my scrivener document - but I am thinking I might start to do more world building (I'm a fantasy writer) in Evernote instead.

I have created some general questions as a jumping off point in creating my characters. Then I like to write the journey for each main character. From there, I piece each of these journeys together into some kind of timeline/outline.

In my current WIP, I do have lots of scenes that are just "Something bad happens here..." I thought that as I wrote the book these kinds of scenes would naturally come to be, that organically through the writing process these would be developed. But instead I am finding these scenes just slow down my writing. I have to go back into plotting mode, and try and work out what fits.

So, right now as I am plotting the next book, I am going to make sure that each scene is clearly plotted. And, well, if things during the writing process cause me to change directions, that's fine. But I am hoping that this means the writing process goes quicker for me.
 
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guest390

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Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2018, 08:09:00 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGUNqq3jVLg

Simple, but some of the best advice you'll ever hear.
 
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Gerri Attrick

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2018, 06:26:35 PM »
Thanks for that, Brian. Simple but useful.

Plotting and outlining are my bete noir. Lord, if Iíve bought one book on the subject, then I must have bought a dozen. I write mysteries - British whodunits cum cozy mysteries - and I have to plot them out, making sure my clues and red herrings go in all the right places.

So many books/articles on the subject seem to major on the ďheroís journeyĒ and I have real trouble relating that, and the whole goal-motivation-conflict business, to my work in anything more than a general sense. I feel I need specifics. Still, I muddle on through, somehow.
 
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PiiaBre

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 11:37:25 PM »
Gerri, I nodded my head off reading your post.
I have the same problem, and I'm constantly buying more books on plotting. They all help up to a point, until there's a step that I can't get over, or the result feels strangely hollow, and that's that.


I'm not British, but the mysteries I write kind of like to think they are.
 

dianapersaud

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2018, 06:20:40 AM »
James Scott Bell's Writing your Novel from the Middle was very helpful. Once I figure out the main plot points, I pants the rest. I find that having a loose outline keeps me focused. Too much of an outline stifles my creativity and I can't write.
 

ragdoll

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2018, 02:48:31 PM »
James Scott Bell's Writing your Novel from the Middle was very helpful. Once I figure out the main plot points, I pants the rest. I find that having a loose outline keeps me focused. Too much of an outline stifles my creativity and I can't write.

I just checked my kindle and I bought it in 2014 ... I better finally "crack that spine" :D
 

ragdoll

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2018, 10:15:26 PM »
Well, while there's always a lot of writing advice that I disagree with when it comes to structure and required elements, Writing from the Middle did help with the book I'll start writing in November. I would say for pantsers like me, the Golden Triangle is a workable step toward becoming more of an outliner.

You can get a short taste of the method in this article and another take here
 

Tom Wood

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2018, 11:43:31 PM »
Looking at those articles, what he's describing is what Blake Snyder (Save the Cat) calls the dark moment of the soul. The moment when the hero realizes that what they want isn't what they need. It's the turning point of the story, so it does work well as an anchor scene to work outward from to the end and beginning.

Wreck-It Ralph and Inside Out: ShowHide
In Wreck-It Ralph, it's the moment when he returns to his video game and finds out that his pursuit of a hero badge has ruined everything. In Inside Out, it's the scene when Joy realizes the value of Sorrow when she's in the valley of forgotten memories.
 

ragdoll

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2018, 04:49:55 AM »
Writing Your Novel from the Middle is short - 86 pages or so. A lot of it is repetitive. I think it would have made a lovely article. BUT, like I said, I think it is going to help me for my upcoming book, so definitely worth the time and 3.99. I haven't read (but do own) Save the Cat, so I can't compare at present. I think a lot of writing advice (just like psychology theories!) is just relabeling parts of a story.

There is a lot in Middle that I will toss out. But two elements for me to keep are the Golden Triangle, as noted, and the Suspension Bridge. He doesn't formally join them together, but I did a rough joining today.



To me, Golden Triangle and Suspension Bridge (aka 3 act structure) are both structural. JSB seems to reference only the Bridge as structural and only addresses its pillars, not the ascend/descend aspect of the Bridge.

Considering Golden Triangle as primarily (or solely) structural, I am inclined to gloss over the midpoint in the book because I prefer static protagonists (there could be change over a series, but not in a single book). Think Sherlock Holmes, Jack Reacher, Brother Cadfael and so on. So my midpoint will be where the protagonist loses all their * and finds the reserves to pull it back together. She might doubt her ability, her determination, her desire to reach a specific end, but she will get back on her feet and go in search of the next lead.

Notable is that Bell says address whichever part when you are ready. Maybe you know the prestory psychology. You've been living with this character and you know her inside out. On a personal level, you want to transform her from X to Z. Knowing her prestory psychology, you can pretty much figure out her midpoint crisis.

Without the Bridge, the Triangle would be of no real use to me. Bell says the First Pillar is where the story takes off - the character from this point cannot turn back and must follow the story to its conclusion. Since passing the First Pillar puts one in Second Act (approximately - Bell says in a novel, it should be around the 20% mark, not the 25% mark of a play), the protagonist must carry on because it would be one or more of the three "deaths" (physical, professional or psychological) to quit. It is also important (in terms of the advice rendered) to include an Opening Disturbance early in the story (I think he says by the 10% mark).

The Second Pillar is about inevitability. That clue that has to be tracked down, leading the protagonist to the killer's lair and so on. It could be a member of the party leaving or joining, some change that makes the end possible or inevitable.

That's my present takeaway based on last night's bleary reading. After reading about the two pillars, I got out of bed and wrote down (by moonlight on yellow paper - surprised it is legible) the two pillars for the book I'm planning. I already knew these events were going to happen, but now I have a better sense of where to place them and how they relate to another.

Oh - one last takeaway. To be memorable, you must show the transformation, not pay lip service to it. And to make it more meaningful, you need to plant a symbol for the transformation early (I believe before the first pillar is reached). I didn't want to write in the dark again, so I put my symbol into the notes on my phone. Now I have to get it all into scapple. :D Also, I need to see if I can put an image of the Golden Triangle Suspension Bridge as the background on scapple.

 
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Tom Wood

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2018, 05:29:24 AM »
To get a thorough analysis of the pre-story psychology, read Lisa Cron's Wired for Story and Story Genius, in that order. She goes into great depth about how events prior to the story set up the midpoint change.

And yeah, a lot of the gurus do re-label the same pieces of the story theory paradigms. The value comes when one of them does it in a way that turns on your particular lightbulb and Aha! moment.  :icon_idea:
 
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Vijaya

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2018, 07:06:41 AM »
I outline most of my NF and try to keep information flowing in a logical manner. I often write the lede sentences to get going.

For fiction, I found it very helpful to just write a narrative outline, this happens, then that, so, etc. and any bits of dialogue that come.

Other structuring tools--the nine box method. I have it printed out. Let's see, here's a link to it and within it are pdfs that you can print out for your own use: http://deannaroy.com/2013/10/a-little-nanowrimo-organizational-help-the-nine-box-method-of-structuring-your-novel/  I love this method because I can see it all on one page.

Oh, I sometimes use the Snowflake method by Randy Ingermanson and the Hero's Journey by Chris Vogler.

These tools are esp. handy when I feel stuck.


Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 
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Denise

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2018, 10:08:29 AM »
 
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Dennis Chekalov

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2018, 10:24:33 AM »
The problem is that this structure doesn't work for serials, and many indie writers write serials. If you are writing a long series about a police detective, he can't change in every book, he can't have "dark moments" in every book, etc. It would be unrealistic. Your main character is just doing their job, it's not a Hero Journey or something like this.
 
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Tom Wood

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2018, 10:36:50 AM »
True. One approach is to write a 'set' of stories that all share a common story world, but which have a different hero in each story. There could also be some recurring characters. It would be like telling the story of Agents 001, 002, 003, 004 and etcetera, and having M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny in them with a different villain for each one. One story per agent and they are forever changed.
 
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Denise

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2018, 11:25:59 AM »
The problem is that this structure doesn't work for serials, and many indie writers write serials. If you are writing a long series about a police detective, he can't change in every book, he can't have "dark moments" in every book, etc. It would be unrealistic. Your main character is just doing their job, it's not a Hero Journey or something like this.

In every story there would be a different conflict, I think. Another option is that the story isn't about the hero, but about the cases the hero deals with. That's what's done in TV series, for example, and each episode has an arc.

That said, I do agree that using movie structures for books is not  as useful, when books are much closer to TV (in terms of length, etc.)
 

Tom Wood

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2018, 04:08:07 PM »
Dan Harmon spent a lot time and effort on his story circle paradigm. It's near the center of that first chart from the secrets of story website. I don't watch Rick and Morty, but don't they go through some existential angst (dark moment) in nearly every episode? Only to shrug it off so they can do it again and again?
 

Gerri Attrick

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2018, 03:15:17 AM »
The problem is that this structure doesnít work for serials, and many indie writers write serials. If you are writing a long series about a police detective, he canít change in every book, he canít have ďdark momentsĒ in every book, etc. It would be unrealistic. Your main character is just doing their job, itís not a Hero Journey or something like this.

This! So much this!

Iíve read more books on plotting - including JSBís Write Your Novel From The Middle - than Iíve had hot dinners very nearly, and this has always been my sticking point/stumbling block.
I write British whodunits featuring the same sleuth and incorporating JSBís Mirror Moment in every book isnít easy. I still think it helps, though, especially if I make it a professional death type of affair. If nothing else it helps me see the bigger picture - as it effects my sleuth - and adds greater depth to my stories (I hope).
 

Kyra Halland

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2018, 07:18:04 AM »
The problem is that this structure doesn't work for serials, and many indie writers write serials. If you are writing a long series about a police detective, he can't change in every book, he can't have "dark moments" in every book, etc. It would be unrealistic. Your main character is just doing their job, it's not a Hero Journey or something like this.

I like K.M. Weiland's concept of the flat character arc. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/write-character-arcs/ (scroll down a little more than halfway). This is where the character already knows their Truth (instead of starting out believing a Lie that they have to learn not to believe), and while their Truth may be challenged, in the end they use their Truth to change the world or their circumstances, instead of having their Lie changed. I tend to write this kind of character more often myself. So that's where you have your police detective, for example, using his Truth - a belief in justice - to change the world by overcoming the odds to catch the killer, even though his Truth may be challenged by, say, someone in power who doesn't want to the killer to be found. Each book may have a different challenge to his Truth, when he faces opposition to his investigations or from within, if he starts to wonder if justice is really possible, but he always overcomes the challenge and brings a little more justice to the world.

The different plot structures are fun and interesting to play with, but sometimes I find them too prescriptive. You can't always take them literally. I like to pare it down to just the basics, then use the more detailed structures to brainstorm ideas to fill in the empty places. If you try to wrench your story around too much to fit exactly into one of the plot outline templates, you risk making it too artificial, stuff just happening because the plot template says it has to happen here.


Tales of fantasy, heroism, and romance.
Kyra Halland | Website | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Goodreads

Genres: Epic Romantic Fantasy; Western Fantasy
 
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oganalp

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2018, 08:44:29 AM »
Writing Your Novel from the Middle is short - 86 pages or so. A lot of it is repetitive. I think it would have made a lovely article. BUT, like I said, I think it is going to help me for my upcoming book, so definitely worth the time and 3.99. I haven't read (but do own) Save the Cat, so I can't compare at present. I think a lot of writing advice (just like psychology theories!) is just relabeling parts of a story.

There is a lot in Middle that I will toss out. But two elements for me to keep are the Golden Triangle, as noted, and the Suspension Bridge. He doesn't formally join them together, but I did a rough joining today.



To me, Golden Triangle and Suspension Bridge (aka 3 act structure) are both structural. JSB seems to reference only the Bridge as structural and only addresses its pillars, not the ascend/descend aspect of the Bridge.

Considering Golden Triangle as primarily (or solely) structural, I am inclined to gloss over the midpoint in the book because I prefer static protagonists (there could be change over a series, but not in a single book). Think Sherlock Holmes, Jack Reacher, Brother Cadfael and so on. So my midpoint will be where the protagonist loses all their * and finds the reserves to pull it back together. She might doubt her ability, her determination, her desire to reach a specific end, but she will get back on her feet and go in search of the next lead.

Notable is that Bell says address whichever part when you are ready. Maybe you know the prestory psychology. You've been living with this character and you know her inside out. On a personal level, you want to transform her from X to Z. Knowing her prestory psychology, you can pretty much figure out her midpoint crisis.

Without the Bridge, the Triangle would be of no real use to me. Bell says the First Pillar is where the story takes off - the character from this point cannot turn back and must follow the story to its conclusion. Since passing the First Pillar puts one in Second Act (approximately - Bell says in a novel, it should be around the 20% mark, not the 25% mark of a play), the protagonist must carry on because it would be one or more of the three "deaths" (physical, professional or psychological) to quit. It is also important (in terms of the advice rendered) to include an Opening Disturbance early in the story (I think he says by the 10% mark).

The Second Pillar is about inevitability. That clue that has to be tracked down, leading the protagonist to the killer's lair and so on. It could be a member of the party leaving or joining, some change that makes the end possible or inevitable.

That's my present takeaway based on last night's bleary reading. After reading about the two pillars, I got out of bed and wrote down (by moonlight on yellow paper - surprised it is legible) the two pillars for the book I'm planning. I already knew these events were going to happen, but now I have a better sense of where to place them and how they relate to another.

Oh - one last takeaway. To be memorable, you must show the transformation, not pay lip service to it. And to make it more meaningful, you need to plant a symbol for the transformation early (I believe before the first pillar is reached). I didn't want to write in the dark again, so I put my symbol into the notes on my phone. Now I have to get it all into scapple. :D Also, I need to see if I can put an image of the Golden Triangle Suspension Bridge as the background on scapple.

He talks about the three act structure thoroughly in Plot & Structure.

Oganalp Canatan | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
 
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VanessaC

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2018, 07:56:29 PM »
This is very relevant for me just now as I'm beginning to plan my next series (yeah, I haven't finished the current one yet, but my brain needs a LOT of time to ruminate on ideas!).

To help, I've just re-read Rachel Aaron's blog series "How to plot a series without driving yourself insane" - it's in three parts, and part one is here: http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.com/2015/07/writing-wednesdays-how-to-plot-series.html

Everyone is different, so I do think you (generic you) have to find a method that works for you - for some reason, Rachel Aaron's advice always seems to resonate with me and I find it really helpful.  She also has good posts on writing character-driven plots and plotting a book.  I don't think she's doing her writing tips anymore, but there's a treasure trove of stuff there.

I do also like KM Weiland, referenced above - watched a lot of her short videos.
 

Genre: Fantasy
 
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KFaitour

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2018, 02:35:17 AM »
I just bought and started reading Jessica Brody's new book that riffs on Blake Snyder's: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

(https://smile.amazon.com/Save-Cat-Writes-Novel-Writing/dp/0399579745/). 

I'm finding it very helpful as it dovetails with and clarifies some of the other craft tips and techniques I've picked up and use to outline story and series beats. 

 :catrun
 

OfficialEthanJ

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2018, 04:32:23 AM »
I tend to use the Blake Snyder beat sheet once my concept is established, namely, "I'm writing an action thriller." But what if the core concept is hard to pin down? For that, I use the Pixar plot formula to cut through the bull:

Quote
Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___. (Cite)

That helped me out in those cases of "This story is too hard to explain and defies all known genres." I'm not that clever, actually.
 
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The Doctor

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2018, 07:19:05 AM »
For anyone who has Scrivener, K.M. Weiland has a free novel outline template you can download here.

https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/resources/structuring-your-novel-scrivener-template/

I've found it hugely helpful when plotting my current wip. I'd started the story writing key scenes then seemed to write myself into a corner when writing the 'linking' scenes. Now I know exactly what I'm doing and what I still need to do.

 
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Kyra Halland

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2018, 05:11:24 AM »
So my midpoint will be where the protagonist loses all their * and finds the reserves to pull it back together. She might doubt her ability, her determination, her desire to reach a specific end, but she will get back on her feet and go in search of the next lead.

Somehow I missed this before, but this is awesome. It goes with what I was talking about, the static character who is trying to change their world with their truth, rather than events changing their Lie to Truth, and has their Truth challenged and has to overcome that challenge. Losing their * (putting it so elegantly!) and finding the strength to pull it back together and overcome their doubts is exactly what I like about these kinds of characters.


Tales of fantasy, heroism, and romance.
Kyra Halland | Website | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Goodreads

Genres: Epic Romantic Fantasy; Western Fantasy
 
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ragdoll

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2018, 01:48:59 PM »
...It goes with what I was talking about, the static character who is trying to change their world with their truth, rather than events changing their Lie to Truth, and has their Truth challenged and has to overcome that challenge...

Haven't thought about static character like that, but love the way you put it!
 

TinkSaid

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2018, 11:25:07 PM »
Stumbled across this post entitled "It's Just a Phrase", and it excites the pantster in me yet satisfies the inner plotter.
Or maybe vice versa, but any hows, for me, it's a sweet middle ground. YMMV.

http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue%2015/phase.htm



 

 
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Gerri Attrick

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2018, 04:26:51 AM »
Stumbled across this post entitled ďItís Just a PhraseĒ, and it excites the pantster in me yet satisfies the inner plotter.
Or maybe vice versa, but any hows, for me, itís a sweet middle ground. YMMV.

http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue%2015/phase.htm

Seems very similar to the idea put forward in Jim Driverís Outline Your Books or Die!
Itís a method Iíve tried to implement, but without a great deal of luck so far.


 


 

elleoco

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2018, 08:55:04 AM »
Stumbled across this post entitled "It's Just a Phrase", and it excites the pantster in me yet satisfies the inner plotter.
Or maybe vice versa, but any hows, for me, it's a sweet middle ground. YMMV.

http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue%2015/phase.htm

The article says, "It helped me write a 101,000 word book in ten days." What it doesn't say is how long the outline took.

I do outlines, but doing what's described would make me agree with those who say outlining kills their interest in writing the story. However, I read Elizabeth George's description of her process, and it sounds like this.

IMO, which I probably bored people in the Other Place mentioning, outlining vs. pantsing isn't an either/or proposition. It's a continuum and ranges from the article's kind of outline through those of us who only write a sentence or two per chapter or scene through those who say they pants but "just jot down a few notes" right to those who make no notes, think up a character or scenario, and just start typing.

TinkSaid

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2018, 09:11:46 AM »
She states it took two weeks to write the outline.

 

elleoco

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2018, 06:22:42 PM »
She states it took two weeks to write the outline.

Whoops, should not have skimmed. So longer for the outline than the book. Thought that would be the case. It is interesting.

Captain Cranky

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2019, 12:09:34 PM »
Stumbled across this post entitled "It's Just a Phrase", and it excites the pantster in me yet satisfies the inner plotter.
Or maybe vice versa, but any hows, for me, it's a sweet middle ground. YMMV.

http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue%2015/phase.htm

Thanks for the link. There's a lot of good content by going here: https://fmwriters.com/Visionback/

I downloaded all issues to peruse in my own time, looks like it was put together by Holly Lisle?
A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
 
The following users thanked this post: TinkSaid

dikim

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2019, 03:19:41 AM »
I got nowhere with writing long fiction until I learned how to use a step outline. It's a really versatile tool that lets you start thinking about your story at any point, and then work backwards and forwards from there. I usually have the whole outline worked out before I start writing but some of it may be a bit sketchy so I need to write up to those bits and then do some more plotting before I create those scenes. Also sometimes I spot a mistake in the plot while I'm writing or think of an alternative that might work better. Then I stop, replot and start writing again.

I've used step outlining successfully for lots of books including a couple of successful series so it definitely works. In fact, I like it so much that I've written a book about plotting to help other writers use similar methods.



Author of more than 40 books and several scripts. Writes fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, adults and other writers.
www.dianakimpton.co.uk
 

TinkSaid

Re: [Guide] Planning and outlining tips
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2019, 09:05:15 AM »

I downloaded all issues to peruse in my own time, looks like it was put together by Holly Lisle?

Good guess, but it seems the site's owner & main contributor is Lazette Gifford, with an occasional guest poster.

Happy perusing!