Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Outlining... sort of

After resolving to outline my story, I decided it was time to do some research and reviewing.

I turned to one of my favorite writing resources -- Writing Excuses. It's a fifteen-minute (or eighteen-minute... or twenty-minute) podcast by writers Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Tayler, the guy behind my favorite webcomic, Schlock Mercenary. Each 'cast focuses on some aspect of story writing. I picked out some helpful episodes and got to listening. I also perused Dan Well's blog, because I remembered there had once been something on there about plot structure.

That led me to a really cool series of videos from a presentation he did on the structuring system he uses. So far, this has been my most helpful tool. Now I have beginnings and endings and midpoints and plot turns for the major character's arcs and the biggest plotline of the story. So, basically, an outline.

The reason I dislike outlines is from some unsubstantiated-but-still-strong belief that as a creative person, I don't need an outline. Obviously my thoughts and ideas are much too free and can't be constrained by such a rigid system.

This is stupid because I've never really used an outline before.

And I still don't think I can do a precise outline like other writers do -- chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene organization. Once I get to the point where I can picture it like that, I don't think I'll need an outline anymore. But right now I have a framework on which I hope I can start building my story.

But that's not the same thing as starting.

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