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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Finding Out Why

I don’t outline. That is, I can’t sit down and bullet point all the aspects of my story. Instead, what I do I call a short draft.

A short draft is kind of like a summary I write before I write the story. It hits all the main plot points and it’s all tell/no show. It’s a way to organize my story in my head. Things may not go the way I plan, but it still helps to have some sort of map.

I wrote a short draft for the story in the point of view of my main character. Now it’s time to do the same for this evil wizard.

I have a what. I need a why. Why would this wizard go to all this trouble to work such a spell? It has to be for love.

Then all the pieces fell into place. Take a lost love. Combine it with the characters and situations I already had. Mix until it makes sense. Let the ingredients bake together. And a climax that makes sense emerges.

Whew! For a while there, I thought I was going to have to give up.

How do you “map out” your story (if you’re a plotter)? Do you outline? Or do you do something similar to what I do?

16 comments:

Ink in the Book said...

I always start with an idea or a character. Sometimes both. I flesh out the main concept, using index cards. Then I fill in the gaps,sometimes before I write, most of the time while I write. Maybe most of my writing comes during the "editing" stage. But that's not really editing. It's still writing:)

mshatch said...

I recently jumped on the outline bandwagon tho I still start with an idea and a character. Then I just start mapping out the book, basically writing a chapter by chapter outline. I also use K. M Weiland's Crafting Unforgettable Characters which asks great questions that help with the entire process. It doesn't mean that I won't veer from the outline, but it helps make the journey less chaotic and quicker.

Jadzia Brandli said...

I used to do it all without any outline. I'm trying to outline more. With my WIP I wrote down ideas for certain scenes I wanted to see move the story forward, then I created scenes/chapters to tie all the big events together. Then I organized them on paper squares, chapter by chapter, so I know how it's going to go.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I'm outlining right now. I'm up to four pages for my next book. I'll probably work on the outline for another month before I even start. I guess the important thing is to find out what works. With me, I have to outline, or I waste too much time pursuing dead ends of a story.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I do a general outline with those bullet points and then I panster it from one to the next.

Liz said...

I've heard of the index card thing, but I've never tried it. I wonder if it'd work for me.

And I prefer the editing stage, myself.

Liz said...

Sounds a lot like what I do. I'll have to check out that book.

Liz said...

The index card thing. I really should try that.

Liz said...

Yeah, me too. I tried once to write without a plan in place, and the story went nowhere.

Liz said...

Nice.

Tracy Bermeo (A2Z Mommy) said...

First time visitor here. Hello! I do not outline. I scribble and write like a tornado to get whatever is in my head on to the paper (always paper first). Then I cut, paste, rearrange, fill in, embellish and keep adding. Then of course more editing, but I'm more of a one sentence at a time and then throw it all together kind of girl. So looking forward to seeing more from this blog.
A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

JEFritz said...

That sounds like a really cool idea you had to write a short draft about your evil wizard. I'm glad it helped with the story.

I don't usually outline before writing, but for my last book I actually did in order to keep the dates straight. I ended up diverting from it anyway, but it still worked out well.

Huntress said...

If a prop becomes necessary, a rock or jewelry for instance, I need to know why. There must be a reason behind every arc in my stories.

There must be a 'why'.

Liz said...

Everyone's system is different. I like yours. It sounds very creative.

Liz said...

I start out with plans, but I find the story diverging often. What is that saying...no battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy. Something like that.

Liz said...

Yes. True.