I don't really outline. I have a series of events in my head that I may or may not scribble down so I don't forget, but I don't outline. My first draft is free-written and rarely the same story as when I started, much less between drafts :).
My story changes dramatically as well. I remember in one such tale I went from writing about an evil fairy woman to something about a troupe of gypsies. o.O
Hee. Mine went from "crazy guys! who aren't crazy! Magic! Adventures! And um. All sorts of stuff." to a twisted love story with crazy kids and no magic or adventurs. Just sex and drugs.
Gah, I hate outlining too, but can't write without one either. I do that notecard outline thing too--it's pretty much the most relaxed way to write an outline, haha. I can't do anything more detailed than that. The snowflake method made me shiver just looking at one had to do. I could never be that detailed xD
For me—I have to come up with the ideas before I outline. Sometimes this makes the outline redundant. I rarely go into specific detail BUT.
With my current project, the process was very different. I have bits and pieces (actually about 40K) of the story already written, in various times and places with various characters. Since the story will be told nontraditionally and nonchronologically, this was fine. It wasn't until recently, though, that I sat down, made index cards for each of the scenes I had written, and started to fill in the gaps. I worked chronologically first (and there were many scribblings of doom) and then rearranged them into the order in which I will tell them. It was crazy. But it is strangely liberating to be able to choose when a certain scene occurs for maximum impact, rather than being constrained by chronology. My outline is an Excel document (so I could line up things I wanted to happen simultaneously.)
It's pretty damn fabulous if I do say so myself, so if anyone wants to see my beast of an outline (actually there's not that much to it and it's vague) they can let me know. ^.^
2008-03-25 10:39 pm (UTC)
Ooh, ooh, I'd like to see it. I've never seen a true, completed outline before. I'm really curious! And I'm fascinated by the whole exotic nature of it (yes, proper outlines are exotic mysteries to me, lol). Maybe I'll even learn something. :D
I don't have Excel though. Will I still be able to see it? I have no idea how Excel works. Can the document be exported and converted? If so, just send it on over to email@example.com. If not, no worries. I'll just gaze at you in wonder. :D
I'd love to see your outline. Like Pai, I've never actually seen a finished version.
my email's kujirai @ live. com. au
Oh wow, that looks great!! Maybe I should do something like this (=__=) It looks helpful.
Lol @ "Saul gets caught doing Bad shit"
It was definitely helpful for figuring out what happens when. But yeah, it's vague... (I'm not even sure what sort of Bad Shit he does!) Glad you like it, hope it helps.
Wow, your outlining has helped me a lot so far. I've managed to flesh out my entire first book and half my second using your style. o.O Later today I might even get started on the basics for the 3rd book. It is a bit vague but it gives me a great basis to a more detailed approach later.
You're a frickin genius, I says. 8D
Holy shit, I hadn't realized it would be *that* useful! I just made it up as I went, really. That's awesome that it's helped you!
I loves being a genius. (*celebration a la icon!*)
I'm intrigued by the index card idea; but I don't think I'll use it until I find myself at a dead end in my outlining.
As for myself, I'm fairly good at outlining my story; in fact that always what I seem to be doing. I always find some flaw or odd sequence of events that need to be thought of a bit more; then I add it to my chapter file.
My outlining consists of Chapter Files. I do a one page rough outline of exactly what's going to happen in the book; then I elaborate on that my writing down everything that i want to happen in each chapter. Conversations, events, important events, character intro's, things that will need explaining in that chapter etc etc, and then I highlight them in different colors; print it out; and put it in a referance folder.
That seems to work for me; and it gives me a lot of details; and helps with writers block and laziness because you have it all written right there; what you need to be talking about. It's a tedious process but worth it in my opinion; and it gives you the freedom to go back and add in bits of information that you left out; or suddenly think up.
Wow. That first paragraph just pinned my thoughts exactly. I tried in depth planning (although it was with fanfiction) and I could never bring myself to finish it. It was as if the story was already written, so writing it brought no joy or surprise. Which, in a way, was fine. It was only fanfiction.
But now with my original fiction, I actually do want to finish it. I really enjoy finding out little things about my characters along the way, not having it all planned from the beginning.
So my new plan will work like this: I’ll have a beginning and a definite end I want to work towards. I’ll have a rough outline of major characters (and some important minor ones!) in my head, just so that they have some life in them.
And that should work. At least for a while.
When I was younger, my outlines were kinda fairly detailed. But then...I think I stopped doing it, and kind of grew out of it. And now I find it ridiculously hard to outline in detail. I do outline for some stories, like my current one, but it's kinda hard for me. I more or less have an outline for this one, but it's not super detailed...although that's mostly because I've had so few ideas for it. It's probably going to end up being like...six chapters as a first draft. I can't wait until I finish it and then can hopefully edit it to death and then MAYBE use whatever notes I come up with towards coming up with more ideas so that the rewrite can be longer.
Notecarding is what I do.I have a three-subject binder to make notes in outside of the notecards (like character quirks, things about the war, etc, etc) but notecarding is THE only way I can get through the middle of a story.
I can't outline in detail. I tend to write organically, and outline the same. So for instance, my current work, I started with a line and characters grew from there, and then they had secrets and they wouldn't tell me what they were. I worked through some things with the characters while writing, and eventually I hit a turn point, and wham, I had a good idea of what had to happen, so I started with a sort of "scene" structure. I made this list of scenes - character a had a dream about x/trading scene, etc. I've added to them, fleshed them out as I've written more of the story, added whose point of view the scene should be from, etc. It was too hard to write without some idea of what needed to happen. Also, it helps if I get bored or stuck, I can just say "I just have to write this scene and I know what it is about and I know the POV."
I have used index cards, but I have trouble with them. Mostly because I write on the computer and so I like to have all my ideas/character info/bits and pieces available on my computer as well.
I am very anal, so I usually like things like the Snowflake Method. However, I've been very impressed with Jim Butcher's advice too. It's in the same general direction, but much more freeform. He actually just posted something about outlining: http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/