Outlining, again

Much as I hate “how to write” books that are not “Hi, I, an author you really like, will muse about how I go about things,” because I am actu­ally a point where I can’t progress with­out out­lin­ing I reluc­tantly picked up a book about out­lin­ing nov­els. It’s not bad, though I find myself skip­ping large sec­tions that are more about fig­ur­ing out your char­ac­ters’ moti­va­tions and so forth rather than out­lin­ing as such. Sadly, I’m not find­ing the Save the Cat! method, which is great for screen­writ­ing main­stream films, to work well for novels.

How about you?


  • BScCollateral wrote:

    Nor­mally, I tend not to out­line because I find that when it comes to actu­ally writ­ing, things tend to get out of hand. I gen­er­ally real­ize my plans don’t work, or I get inter­ested in a side plot…

  • I always out­line, but I tend to keep it loose. It’s a chapter-by-chapter thing, but it’s more an overview of the major plot points of the chap­ter and any clever turns of phrase that imme­di­ately shake out. Helps keep the momen­tum going and reduces the need to depend on The Divine Muse.

  • BSc, prob­lem with this one is that the plot cen­ters around a con, which means I have to keep all the mov­ing parts straight. When I did the Mind­less Swash­buck­ler Novel last year, I knew how it started, a cou­ple scenes that needed to be in the mid­dle and the dénoue­ment, and really that’s all you need for that kind of novel: when things get slow you have a guy wield­ing a rapier come through the door.

    And of course it’s also a lit­tle trick­ier when it’s tend­ing to “And here’s another scene where the pro­tag­o­nist sits around talk­ing to someone.”

  • I find out­lin­ing use­ful for plot­ting — if I can’t actu­ally write the !@#$ scene, at least I know what kind of scene it has to be.

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