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How Outlining Makes Writing Easier

Just pulled up a screenplay outline in to roll in notes I had jotted down in pen and I got so confused: the scene was retooled LIKE CRAZY and plays out so differently in my notes than my original outline. Funny how that happens, huh?

Amazing discoveries were unearthed in my new story this morning during outlining. There's something magical about handwriting; I'd forgotten & used to hate this bit. Power to the index cards

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Outline Perfect planning is not necessary but writers should have a general outline of their books. Having every detail planned is not necessary but a writer should at least be aware of the story’s twists and turns.

I think I'm gonna experiment with mind mapping for my 2 book series. It may do the trick and be really helpful to me.

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I have trouble with world building, and it often keeps me from continuing past the brainstorming phase. So, I’m with the world building I’ve done and it clearly shows where I need to fill in the gaps πŸ˜‚ Outlining is how you find the problems

How do you plan your books/novels? I usually write 1-3 sentences about what will happen in each chapter.

The whole point of my completed first draft is to find the plot holes that need to be filled. But jeez! Do I have to have so many!?!

I think I've discovered another idea. That makes 5 stories on the list. 1 is already complete and in the middle of . I guess it's time to do some serious .

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anonymous asked:

Bruhh may you sauce some tips/advice on writing psychological horror? That shit is godly and chilling at its best and I'm considering writing (a comic) a story that is of that genre. Thank you!!

I’m happy to create some stuff about psychological horror. It’s difficult to just spew out some tips because, like any other genre, there’s a lot more to it than just a few subtle changes in basic storytelling technique. 

Let me know what kind of psychological horror topics you’d like an article covering!

anonymous asked:

I'm sure this has been asked alot so you can shorten down the answer AS much as you want. Do you have advice for people who have very specific scenes THOROUGHLY thought out but have a hard time outlining the entirety of the book? How long should you try working with the scene before scrapping it if nothing makes sense? Thanks.

Me? Shorten down the answer? I never write short things, I’m an overwriter.


As someone who also tends to have very vivid scenes I want to get to and not much semblance of a plot, here’s what helps me.

Try using those very specific scenes as a major part of your outline — in fact, they should be the very basis of your outline. And then what you do is connect the dots.

If you have scene A and scene B planned out in your mind… What do you need to do to connect the two?

For example, let’s say that I’m writing a story of enemies becoming friends. I have the scene 1 of them being enemies planned out intricately in my mind, and I have scene 2 of them becoming friends planned out, here’s how I would think about it:

What needs to happen between scene 1 and scene 2, so that scene 2 can happen?

  • Well in order for them to be friends, one of them needs a change of heart.
  • So now I have a scene planned in my mind for one of them having a change of heart. This is scene 1.5.
  • Next, what needs to happen for scene 1.5 to happen? 
  • Now, that character needs a reason to have a change of heart. This scene becomes scene 1.3.
  • And so on and so forth.

Try connecting the dots between the scenes that you have planned out, and think of it in steps. Figure out what needs to happen in between those scenes so that they can happen. Keep connecting the dots, keep figuring out what needs to happen in between, and eventually you’ll end up with a full-fledged outline.

And as for the second part of your question, there is no “If this isn’t working after 30 business days, you should scrap it”, because it’s ultimately subjective. It’s your call to make. I would say that if you’re getting frustrated trying to fit in in, and no matter how much you bend over backwards and it doesn’t work, then maybe it’s time to shelve it for a while. But don’t get rid of it — save it in another document. You never know if you’ll need it in later drafts again.

And finally, maybe outlining just isn’t your think. Maybe you’re a pantser or a plantser. That’s okay too.

As a plantser, I usually just create short versions of that outlining method I talked about, between just a couple scenes and write them out. And I make dozens of that and write them on their own, before I ultimately string them together.


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falconfeather23435  asked:

How much of Frostbite has actually stuck to your original outline (y’know, with the occasional plot-twist chapter just for kicks)? Like, were In-Unga getting captured & the trip to Asgard/Marfjall in the original outline, or were those some of those things there because they were good for plot reasons?

Those things were all actually in the outline from the beginning! Márfjall didn’t actually have a name until right before I wrote it, though; it’s in my outline just as ‘the coast.’ Usually the key moments stay the same, but the way they happen is made up more on-the-spot. For example, In-Unga was always going to get captured and rescued leaving Rann Steinar, but I made Býleistr a bigger part of it than I ever would’ve anticipated way back when I outlined everything! ❄️

I’ve definitely given a lot of my supporting characters more screen time than planned, overall, since readers seem to enjoy them. I think Loki and In-Unga’s relationship also progressed a little more quickly than I expected it to, but I believe in going along with whatever your characters are telling you, so I rearranged things a bit to make it work!


Originally posted by t-hiddles

firesidefantasy  asked:

heyy :) what's your favourite method to plot/outline a novel?

oh gosh, idk if i’m the best person to answer this since i’ve never actually made it through a first draft of anything (my method of outlining might not be that effective?? lol) i’m a super plotter. i outline in extreme detail and essentially just outline until i’m writing. that sounds kinda weird, but i get stuck SO EASILY (so. easily.) if i don’t know where i’m going next or i get to the end of a scene and i don’t know enough about the next one. 

so i start with an outline, like 10 main points. then i go over it again and add subpoints. and i just keep doing that until i can section it off into chapters. then i’ll take a chapter and do that until i can section it off by scenes. and again until i’m basically writing. (unless i have a specific scene already thought out, in which case, i just write it.) 

lol probably not the most conventional, but it’s how my brain works. i often struggle with being unable to get my head around an entire story, so this is what works for me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

anonymous asked:

How do you apply an outline? Do you put the outline and the writing in two seperate documents? Do you write around the outline????- sincerely, someone who can't figure out how to actually implement an outline

Hey! For me, the answer is both.

Let’s clarify. An outline is a plan. It’s a way to make sure you don’t get stuck and to prevent you from skipping something important. How each writer chooses to “implement” that plan will look different, if they choose to plan at all. (I know some people are successful pantsers, but I am not one of those people.)

When it comes to outlining, here’s what works for me:

  • For a first draft, I’ll write a messy, ugly, bullet point list of “beats,” or major plot points. This way, I know the story structure and the goal I’m aiming for. (This is a separate document.)
  • As I write the first draft, I’ll make mini, bullet-point outlines of things I want to happen before I write a scene. I do this right on my page to prevent me from getting stuck, and I’ll erase my messy outline after I’ve written the final thing I bulleted.
  • Once I get to later drafts, I’ll make spreadsheets to keep track of things. I made a post about Shark’s Eye’s spreadsheet here - the important thing to note is I tracked different things for my second and third drafts.

The bottom line? Don’t be afraid of trial and error. Experiment with outlining methods until you find whatever helps you complete the writing you set out to do.

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Okay so yesterday I did a thing where I used voice to text to write down a scene idea for circus queers and I loved it.

It came out super rambly and disjointed, but it was short and I quickly went through and deleted the excess filler words that stream of consciousness and speech have. Then I pared it down to what I actually meant to say and came out with a pretty decent scene outline.

I type very fast, but my fingers can almost never keep up with my thoughts. Saying it out loud was so much easier than trying to type the idea as I daydreamed it.


3 Act Structure Ep 3 The First Plot Point

Welcome to the first in a very long series of posts in which I talk about my writing process from conception to the end of my first draft. I wanted to do this series for a few reasons: 

  • I think that learning about others’ writing processes is really interesting. I get to see other ways of going about my work, thinking either wow, that’s really insightful, and I should implement that or I definitely won’t be using that, but now I know that about myself. 
  • I also think it’s important to understand others’ processes is important, because it allows you to see other views of writing besides your own. You will learn very quickly that I am a planner (or, as George RR Martin says, an Architect, which I prefer). I sit down and plan everything. Some people can’t fathom that, but I hope those people will come to understand why I do it this way, rather than the Gardening way. 

Before we start, I want to add a little disclaimer: what works for me might not work for you. I’m not presenting this, or any of the subsequent posts in this series, as fact, but just my own way of going about our shared profession. 

Also, finally, I will be discussing all of these steps in greater detail. Don’t worry. 

Let’s go!


1. GENRE. Before I start with anything, I start with genre. Genre is the flavor, it’s the broad idea of a story. It colors everything that comes after.  

2. CHARACTERS. Characters are the next thing on my list. I can’t develop my plot until I have my characters, because I want to tie my plot to my characters and their backstories and motivations. 

3. WORLDBUILDING. Not everything I write needs a lot of worldbuilding, but worldbuilding comes right around here. It’s often combined with steps 2 and 4, but a large bit of it gets done after character creation. 

4. PLOT AND OUTLINE. This is the part of the process when I start coming up with the plot and working on my outline. This part takes a while! My outline is essentially my first draft, so I need a lot of time to work on the pacing and flow.

5. FIRST DRAFT. The first draft is definitely the hardest, I think for anyone. I don’t have a lot to say here, other than just get through it. It doesn’t matter how long it takes - I’m definitely not one of those people who can slam out a draft in a month - just do it. Start, and keep working on it until it’s done. 

And that’s about it! I’m planning on talking about my drafting and editing process at some point, but I need to finish My Heart is a Concert first. Let me know if you found this helpful or insightful, and look forward to my upcoming articles!

The plotter vs pantser debate fascinates me

As near as I can tell the difference must just be hardwired somehow in the way a writer’s brain processes information.

Because I /try/ to outline. I write really clean drafts and it would save me so much time if I could plot them out in advance and then just write it and be good.

But I can’t.

I can write the outline. But once the characters get plugged in, they refuse to follow the script.

Which is ridiculous. I’m making them up. I should be able to control what they do. But once I’m writing along, I realize as I’m typing that the ideas I had in the outline won’t work or aren’t the best.

Somehow, outlining - even when I try to make it messy and creative - is a logical top-down process, and drafting is a subconscious intuitive process, and I don’t know why but I can’t seem to change that.

nectareouswrites  asked:

🍌 how do you outline?

Send me a fruit? Or don’t. Just reblogging the game is fine!

🍌 I want to pick your brain about your creative process

Thanks for the q, Cammie! Here’s a high-level overview of my outlining process:

  • I usually start with a 300-word “back cover” summary of the plot itself (including keywords and themes). The summary helps me decide right away if the plot is worth pursuing.
  • Next, I turn the 300-word summary into a log-line (i.e. 1-2 sentence summary) and a longer-form (~1500 word) internal (i.e. spoiler-riddled) summary that hits all of the major A-plot points I want to include in the story (and some B/C-plot points as pertinent). The former helps me ensure that the plot is sellable and the latter helps me start getting ideas out on the page in narrative form. (I’m a huge believer in summaries!)
  • From here, I take the internal summary and start expanding the concept into an outline of events and expository elements (i.e. important information the reader needs to know that is neither action nor dialogue). I outline in order of appearance (i.e. when the event or expository element is revealed to the reader) instead of chronology – and at this stage, I don’t bother categorizing bullet points into acts, chapters, or scenes (though I make notes to myself wherever I feel there are organic transitions or stopping points in the story).
  • Then, I turn my outline of events and expository elements into a proper scene-by-scene outline. This involves categorizing my events and expository elements, followed by incorporation of bullets RE: breadcrumbs, symbols, and additional stylistic details as necessary.
  • With summaries and outlines in tow, I (finally) start writing!

Needless to say, I’m a textbook deductive writer – so I doubt this process will work for many, but it definitely works for me. I hope the helps bb!


3 Act Structure EP 1 || The Hook || Authortube

lefthandliesmith  asked:

What's your outline process like??

Anything I outline is usually extremely bare-bones, like a couple of sentences at most for what I think will fit within one chapter. Sometimes the first ideas I’ll have for a story will be some random dialogue or scene mid-story, so it can start out just as a terribly messy google doc with a bunch of bullets for different ‘chunks’ that need to get worked into the story. I am admittedly not the best at estimating how many chapters a story will be, though, so I’m usually moving stuff around. With Frostbite, for example, I might just have ‘they go to the coast’ as my outlined plot point, which is something I’ll end up dragging out for an eternity!

Monstrous is the only thing I’ve really fully outlined and stuck to the outline chapter by chapter, and I’m really proud of that. I’m hoping to repeat that process with Sindri and The Girl in the Garden (which I’ve yet to do anything with besides outline)!

I just found a way to fix the final plot hole in the project I’m currently outlining which is so fucking stupid it will make the whole book feel like 300 pages leading up to that punchline and readers will hate me and I do not care and I am 1000% going to do it because it is simultaneously the dumbest and most ingenious thing I’ve ever come up with