How do you create your outlines?

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How do you create your outlines?

Post by Sunwolf007 on Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:54 pm

How do you go about creating an outline for your story or RP? Do you do research on time periods or technology to get ideas? Maybe you look at other plot structures like the one [rul=http://footstepsofghosts.forumotion.com/t4682-seven-point-story-structure]Ysopet mentions[/url] and build from ideas based on that. What is your process?

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Re: How do you create your outlines?

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:33 pm

The way I outline is keeping things very loose and bare bones, usually with a point B or point C to shoot for. They're usually a climactic event or some drama-filled turning point for the story, something we definitely want to happen but not clearly defined. There's no set timeline on it so the goal post can move as close or as far as we need to as my partner and I come up with new ideas of "let's have this happen" between point A and point B. That's it as far as outlines. Sometimes, smaller points crop up between point A and point B of something we're planning for but hasn't happened yet but they're all kept to vague ideas. It enables the story to have a track without being too restrictive.

As for research... not really. ^^; Unless it's something I'm already interested in or can find with a quick google search, it will be glossed over. My focus in stories is character interaction; interesting people communicating and going through things together and the focus is on drama, reaction, and the evolution of a character, usually from someone flawed to someone even more flawed or into a better person. So, if I were to do a period rp or something scifi, the details of the history or the mechanism of the space ship would be merely hinted at because what is important to me is what is going on between the characters. And I'm not going to write political intrigue, since there is no passion in it for me.

Most of my rps are modern setting so I only have to say "pickup truck" or "shotgun" or "cellphone" and not have to go into detail about what brand it is or how it works; you know more what a pickup truck is than a 2008 Ford F-150 unless you're super into cars. I dislike when books go real specific with make and model like that, as if I care or have any impression of price. And I'm not terribly fond of being forced to google just to find out, "okay, so it's a pickup and not a plane. Good to know."


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Re: How do you create your outlines?

Post by Sunwolf007 on Sun May 01, 2016 1:12 pm

Those ideas work really well for an RP. I've done a loose outline like you mentioned and it really helped the flow. I also think keeping the overarching outline short helps. I've been a fan of doing shorter planned RPs so that if you do get to the end you can start a new one based on the old. Kind of like a chapter 2. That way you can invigorate your active RPers since you've actually completed an RP (and that is hard enough to do) and bring in new people by starting a new RP.

What do you do for a short story or novel? I imagine the process would be different and I haven't done an outline for either and would like to hear your thoughts on it.

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Re: How do you create your outlines?

Post by Guest on Sun May 01, 2016 2:33 pm

For a novel, I'd do the same, especially if I am writing it alone, simply because the problem I've had with writing alone in the past has been "knowing too much about what is going to happen" and feeling too restrained by it. Because I have a bit of a short attention span and if I exhaust too much fantasy to a particular scenario, it is "completed". So, if my outline was more indepth, it would feel really restrictive, like despite having fantasies about a scene - basically "living" through the scene - months ago, I HAVE to write it now because it is what happens next in the story and in order for any of the big stuff that happens after, I MUST write this scene first. It puts a bunch of pressure on it and I've already leeched the adrenaline of story-creating out of it from my first couple of mental run throughs. Because I know about my attention span and how my creativity works, I need to keep things fresh, which means keeping as many future events as vague and few as possible, so that by the time I have to write it, I'm figuring out the details as I'm sitting with the blank page ready and waiting for me to type them out.

Also, keeping the main points to shoot for limited to climactic and turning point events, I can move the goal posts when I want and be inspired to fill in the space between point A and point B with whatever I come up with without feeling like I've lost sight of the end goal. Another problem with writing stories on my own if I decide to just wing it and not plan anything ahead of time(in order to try and capture that fire of creativity and momentum I need), I've ended up with meandering plots where I have trouble figuring out what I want characters to do simply because I don't know where they're going to end up. No goal, it's hard to determine how I want them to progress and often I will rush the development of plot points, put in needless drama that could have been eked out a little more gracefully. So, a goal point to shoot for: Vague, in the future, movable goal posts so that I can put my new ideas in between the points and still have a conceptualized idea of how it fits together.

I do not write short stories. Sweat Drop That is my biggest weakness is a desire for indepth character development and I get really attached to the world of the story, so much so, it is often hard to find a place to end it. I like epic journeys, ups and downs of scenarios and situations, characters who fail only to turn around in a believable manner and make life-altering changes. I like to exhaust an idea of potential before saying good bye and a short story, unless it was just a scene I wanted to play out, might be really difficult for me to do.

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