PDA

View Full Version : Story Outlines


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pages : [1] 2

Colossus
June 22nd, 2002, 10:17 PM
I've read some postings where people are talking about outlining their stories as part of their "prep work" before writing the actual story. I would appreciate any feedback on the subject.

What is the purpose?

Do you outline your entire story before writing or do it in sections?

Is there a set format or standard for outlining stories that works best for you?

Can you share some examples of your outline, or at least the outline structure that you use?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of outlining?

Thanks for any info you can share!!!

Erebus
June 22nd, 2002, 11:05 PM
I tend to just have a basic skeleton rather than an outline per se. As I usually write linearly, I don't tend to bother with outlines and the like, keeping it all in my head as it were. However, I have heaps of research notes to refer back to, expecially for my latest novel. I can see the advantage though of having separate character outlines and notes etc., especially if you have many to keep track of! :)

Sometimes writing to a plan or outline can result in the story fitting that plan rather than allowing it to flow or grow with the telling, which is what I attempt to achieve with my work.

Cadfael
June 22nd, 2002, 11:20 PM
This non writer has has a question...

Okay... do you work with a beggining.... and you sort of know the end... the hard part is getting them to join up??

does that make sense?

Erebus
June 22nd, 2002, 11:23 PM
Well, yes, I always have the ending in mind, otherwise your tale will be without any direction. The fun bit is the journey we take the reader on from the first page to the last, hopefully surprising them with an unexpected conclusion.

Bardos
June 23rd, 2002, 03:21 AM
...or, Begining is the Half of Everything.

I, generaly, begin with a situation, then see how it goes. At the moment I don't have piles of notes, but then I go to that --piles upon piles. :D

As Erebus said, when my plot is linear, I don't keep many notes, for I can easily remember what is going on. But, when many characters go/are to/in different places, then I do keep a "calendar": what I need to write each book-day.

E.g.,

Book-Day 24

Morning -- X character reaches B City.
Noon -- (1) Company F reaches Island by ship (2) Duke E send assasin to murder Lady J.
Afternoon -- ....
Night -- Assasin K tries to murder Lady J.


Usually, I wouldn't know if the assassin suceeds, but I keep notes about him so as to not forget about him. But you need to do that only with a complex story.

Now, about characters, I keep character-profiles (not at the bigining but as the story moves on and I have to keep tracks thin gs about them). The profiles have name, age, hair, eyes (VERY important NOT to comfuse!), height, weight, greatest strenght, greatest weakness, background, likes/dislikes, family...

Anywayz, I've rumbled enough. :)

Alucard
June 23rd, 2002, 03:55 AM
I have never used outlines. For all of my stories so far, I've known who the main character will be, what plot twists I'm going to include (to make sure there aren't any plot holes), and how the story will end. Most of the book is made up along the way. But this style is a lot fun. It doesn't just feel like you are filling in the blanks. For the most part, you can go anywhere with the tale . . . and in all honesty, I came up with most of my best ideas for each one in the process of writing it. But to keep things consistent, I always have a notebook for every story full of information on characters, settings, etc. to refer back to in case I get stuck or forget something vital.

Holbrook
June 23rd, 2002, 03:57 AM
Well for me I try to put down the "idea" for the beginning and let the first chapter or section flow. Then roughly outline where I want the story to go. As each character is added I try and jot do their fate. Or where they will be at the end.

Sometimes as the work progresses one character starts to hijack the d*** thing then the problems start. *g*

As I reach the half way point I have to start being "tough" and begin to detail each of the remaining chapters. Making sure the "flow and continuity" are correct.

I sometimes make "crib" sheets for the main characters, detailing their personal history character etc. Same with major places. I often don't use this in the story but it helps me place them correctly in a scene.

Mainly it is a progress of day dreaming and putting them down on paper.

gabador
June 23rd, 2002, 04:34 AM
No point of outlining everything... The way I write is mad. I have the beginning. Although that may change. I set the ending, although that will change. And I have a few in-between ideas. It is like a connect-the-dots piece. But t's true. You can do just about anything with it. And each day I get a new idea. If it's good, I'll remember it. And then write it down in an appropriate place.

estranghero
June 24th, 2002, 04:14 AM
originally posted by Alucard
I have never used outlines. For all of my stories so far, I've known who the main character will be, what plot twists I'm going to include (to make sure there aren't any plot holes), and how the story will end. Most of the book is made up along the way.


originally posted by Holbrook
Mainly it is a progress of day dreaming and putting them down on paper.

Likewise...

manticore
June 24th, 2002, 05:06 AM
Do you all write on paper? I somehow find it more convenient to type on my PC- makes editing that much easier.

besides, thats one way of making sure i dont lose my material...