A lot or a little?
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Writers either love outlines, or they hate them. My experience has been that more often than not, those who swear they dislike outlines are thinking of them in the wrong ways.
Outlines are not meant to trap you into preset ideas or sap your creativity before you start the first draft.
Outlines are also definitely not meant to be lifeless Roman-numeral lists. This guest post is by K. She makes her home in western Nebraska. To imbue your writing with the full power of outlining, you need to approach the process from a mindset of flexibility and discovery.
At their best, outlines can help you flesh out your most promising story ideas, avoid dead-end plot twists and pursue proper structure. And the greatest part? They save you time and prevent frustration. Sketching out your plot and characters in your first draft can take months of trial and error.
Figuring out those same elements in an outline requires a fraction of the time—and then allows you to let loose and have fun in your first draft.
Although this outlining method is one I use myself and highly recommend, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to outline a story.
The only requirement is that you find the groove that works for you. Your premise is the basic idea for your story. This is why your outline needs to begin with a tightly crafted premise sentence that can answer the following questions: How will that condition be changed, for better or worse, by the hero himself or by the antagonistic force?
At the beginning, what does the hero want? What moral or immoral choices will she have to make in her attempt to gain that objective? Who or what stands in the way of the hero achieving his objective? What misfortune will befall the hero as the result of her attempts to achieve her objective?
And what is the logical flow of cause and effect that will allow this conflict to continue throughout the story?
Restless farm boy situation Luke Skywalker protagonist wants nothing more than to leave home and become a starfighter pilot, so he can live up to his mysterious father objective. Roughly sketch scene ideas.
Armed with a solid premise, you can now begin sketching your ideas for this story. Write a list of everything you already know about your story. Even if you have no idea how these scenes will play out in the story, go ahead and add them to the list.
Whenever you encounter an idea that raises questions, highlight it. Your next step is to address each of the highlighted portions, one by one. Write out your ideas and let your thoughts flow without censoring yourself.
Ask yourself questions on the page. Talk to yourself without worrying about punctuation or spelling. Did something in his past cause the disaster?
What events have shaped him to make him respond to the disaster in the way he does? Once you have a basic idea of how your character will be invested in the main story, you can start unearthing the nitty-gritty details of his life with a character interview.
You may choose to follow a preset list of questions you can find a list of more than such questions in my book Outlining Your Novel: Look for settings that will be inherent to your plot.
If so, dig a little deeper to find a setting better suited to your plot, theme and characters. Can you reduce this list by combining or eliminating settings? Nothing wrong with a sprawling story locale, but extraneous settings should be eliminated just as assiduously as unnecessary characters.
Write your complete outline.©Trustees of Hamilton College, Acknowledgements This booklet bears one name, but it is really a communal effort. I’d like to thank the Director of the Writing Center, Sharon Williams, who originally had the idea for a History Department writing guide, prodded me gently to get it done, and helped to edit and format it.
My colleagues. Help your kid register his or her diary -- and register one for yourself, too. The app supports multiple diaries.
Set aside daily writing time for your kids.
Make sure your kid's diary is backed up regularly. If not synched regularly with iTunes, there's the risk of losing all of these pieces of your kid's story.
Video Transcript: First-person is a popular narrative perspective, among both authors and readers, since it allows the narrating character to directly address the reader by funneling the entire story through his head, using the pronoun “I”—as in, “I went dragon slaying that fateful day”—versus the third-person pronouns “he” or “she”—as in, “she went dragon slaying that.
Wang Xun 's Diary Of A Madman Was China 's First Real Major Modern Short Story - Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman was China’s first real major modern short story. Xun unusually avoided traditional short story writing techniques.
Writing Fiction: 7 Steps To Write Your First Novel. Is it your dream to write a novel? Are you unclear on the process? Write a story, not just a pile of words. I use an old-school Filofax diary and schedule my writing time in blocks. When I worked a full-time day job, I would get up at 5 am and write before work, because I knew I’d.
This is just one of many pages on this website about journaling and creative writing. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to related pages with journal ideas and prompts.
What is a journal? A journal is a written record of your thoughts, experiences, and observations. You can write in your journal daily, or only when you feel the urge.