Friday, January 18, 2013

dare to plot

Today's Friday 4 U is writerly. The topic:

Outlining!

I think I am a plotter because I tend to ramble and take tangents and digress...Plotting keeps me in line. I have to plot or I will lose my way.

I recently commented on a post asking for outlining advice and thought it would be good to share and hear thoughts on it! This is my process...

Once a story idea hits and I have a general idea of it and the MC, I make notes, choose a beginning and an end, add characters, and develop back story for reference. Now I'm ready for the outline!

It's rough, no specifics, just bullet point ideas of scenes, things that could happen, choices, calamities, someone needs to die or leave suddenly at some point, a fight or break up, a tryst, etc. After I have a bunch of scenes, then I arrange them like a puzzle for a more solid outline - refer to this here, add an inference there, give a clue somewhere - and add connecting pieces as needed. Even then, when I start writing, new ideas can change my story's direction. Nothing is written in stone anymore! And pens are great for scribbling!

Even though we are all in different stages of the process, to stay alive, we must keep writing!
  • published? keep writing!
  • querying? keep writing!
  • waiting for CPs? keep writing!
I am just about done with another round of edits and ready to send it to CPs. As I wait for editing crits, I will start outlining a second book to POP TRAVEL - I've been playing with the plot and came up with a name for it, SIMULATION. This also is my Celebrate the Small Things update!

For another angle on outlining, Dr Faerie Godmother, Rena recently hosted Elizabeth Seckman who talks about her process!

So what is your process? Do you outline? And where are you in your writing? Any shiny new ideas waiting to become stories? Do tell!

Have a nice MLK weekend!

39 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

My process seems to grow gradually, usually from an image, like a movie scene, or sometimes I just hear a line or two of dialogue. Then I start asking questions about the scene - who's the person in it, why are they there, etc or wondering who's saying those words and why. And I make lots and lots of notes. :)

VikLit said...

OOH Simulation!! I'm intrigued!! :)

DL Hammons said...

Your process is eerily similar to my onw. I once heard someone refer to it as an organic outline!

Love the name of your book! :)

Dana said...

Good luck with those edits!

Happy Friday. :)

mshatch said...

I used to be a total pantster but then I outlined my last book which worked out really well. Strangely, it didn't work out so well for the next one, which sadly lies abandoned. I have lots of notes about my current wip but no real outline and yet, I'm steadily heading toward the end I envision. It seems I do things a little differently each time but I guess as long as I'm writing, it's all good :)

Julie Flanders said...

Your process sounds a lot like mine. I have to have some sort of plot thought out or I can't get anywhere at all.

Good luck with finishing up the edits. And I love your new title. Sometimes I think coming up with a title is so hard, it's awesome you already have a great one lined up. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I outline, but I don't do the puzzle thing. Think I would have one big mess if I tried. Mine's just a series of paragraphs describing what happens in each scene.

Ink in the Book said...

I outline, but nothing in detail. I start with the idea and just write scenes as they come. Then, I organize them on scene cards and try to make them all come together to make a coherent story. It changes a lot during the writing process.

Congrats on getting something new ready for CP's!

Rena said...

Thanks for the shout out!

I've started moving from pantsing to plotting over the years. I've got one in the development stages right now that I'm soooooooo ready to just start writing, but it's not really ready. So much work in the writing that isn't even writing.

And I love your title! Simulation has me absolutely intrigued.

jamieayres.com said...

I do outline, but after I write the book:-) Happy Friday!! P.S. I saw your comment on my blog--it's not too late to blog/twitter/FB/pinterest your bucket list item(s)! A great prize could be yours! Have I talked you into it yet? hahaha

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congrats on your celebrations with Pop Travel and Simulation - cool title!

Love your thoughts on plotting!
I'm in frantic last minute editing process . . .I keep finding little things to fix, and a few big things. Reading aloud is scary but it helps me find all the mistakes.

Have a great weekend Tara!

Carrie-Anne said...

I like to have a general outline in mind for my longer sagas, but I still fill in the blanks organically. I still remember Mr. Sawyer, the high school physics teacher who was the head of my Creative Writing Club, saying how much he loved writing without knowing how things would end. He'd often get delightful shocks and surprises at some of the twists and turns his stories took, like finding out who committed a crime or some unexpected dark secret coming to light.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Ours processes are very similar...and the reason is definitely the same! If left to my natural tendencies, my stories would be all over the place!

Al Diaz said...

I think I'm a plotter too. Or a combination of both.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Oh man, outlining. I never outline in the beginning of the story, but about halfway through I become so muddled I have to re-edit a bunch and write one. :) That's where I am right now. *sigh*

Allison said...

I used to pants but I started outlining, because it makes things easier for me. It is neat seeing how every writer works differently!

Allison (Geek Banter)

Christine Rains said...

I love reading how other people write. Simulation is a very cool name! I'm a pantser. I just go for it! My stories tend to keep themselves pretty much in order on their own. I always have new stories wanting to happen. I just don't have enough time!

Have a great weekend!

LD Masterson said...

I have to have a plot. I need to know my beginning and my ending first, then I map out the route from point a to point b.

Gwen Gardner said...

I pretty much have the same outlining process as you do. It helps to write the first chapter, too - it's always a surprise :)

Shallee said...

I love hearing other writers' processes! I'm a plotter too, and I designed a sort of system with specific plot points that I hit, sort of based on Dan Wells' 7 point story structure (it's on Youtube, and very awesome!).

Cynthia said...

Thanks for sharing your process. I too am a plotter. In a nutshell, I outline by considering how each chapter should come with tension and some sort of conflict, and I go from there.

M Pax said...

I outline more from about the 1/2 way point on. But mostly I'm a pantser.

Kristin Baker said...

I'm a die-hard plotter. Everything needs to be meticulously outlined before I can move on. However, I'm always open to frequent outline changes. This keeps me on track with the plot and even helps me pick out problems I wouldn't have otherwise seen.

Livia Peterson said...

Awesome outlook, Tara! I need that type of motivation - sorta lack it :(

Gina Gao said...

This is a really great way of doing things. I should outline a lot more than I do.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Tara Tyler said...

Madeline - movies, eh? songs spark me sometimes, and lots of notes!

Vikki - yeah!

DL - organic? cool! and thanks!

Dana - thanks! done! (for now)

Marcy - i think we all have a bit of both =)

Julie - thanks! titles and flash are easier for me, quick! sometimes too quick...

Alex - mine is a very organized puzzle, this happens then a choice of what happens, then another choice...it's so fun to see it unfold!

IITB - sounds similar only with cards! and thanks!

Rena - know what you mean, i get ancy and write some while i research...like sneaking an appetizer!

Jamie - oh, you! but my dance card is full this month...have to have time to write (and promote, you know what i'm talkin' 'bout!)

Tyrean - i need to try the read aloud but i need a soundproof room, family thinks i'm crazy enough! and good luck with the edits!

Tara Tyler said...

Carrie-Anne, i love those surprises! and i love nurturing teachers!

Elizabeth, don't know if i could write a true mystery, i can figure them out, but would prob confuse myself!

Al, we all have a little of both in the end!

Bethany, sounds like youth - barrel through, then back up and fix mistakes - i do that in life! maybe i should outline more off the page!

Allison, it sure is!

Christine, ah. so that's your secret, don't stop to plan, just write! ha!

LD, yes, my fellow plotter!

Gwen, that blasted first chapter - gives me fits where to start sometimes!

Shallee, ooo, must check out. love dan wells!

Cynthia, nice! that's good structure!

Mary, funny how that happens, the middle is where it gets sticky!

Kristin, yay for outlines!

Livia, what are you talking about! you are full of energy!

Gina, your way is best for you - give it a try but don't force it =)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I can't plot. I splurge everything on to the page, then try to make sense of it afterwards... so far so good. Although I have 2 novels I'm working on, I had a great idea for another one - why can't I just have one at a time?

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Yes I most definitely outline - if I didn't my writing would be to and fro :)

Mia Hayson said...

I can't outline. Your description of your process sounds so great, though, that I wish I did.

Generally I start at the beginning and go from there. Sometimes I go backwards though. ;-) The closest I come to outlining is leaving myself notes on what to come back to or add in when I'm feeling up for it.

<3

Misha Gericke said...

I don't outline as much as do mind-maps of everything except the plot. And then only for selected stories. :-)

Used to plot in detail, but Doorways destroyed that habit.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I'm a pantser but I've downloaded short outlining questions that help me make a small outline. The last book I tried to force myself to outline never got written. And trust me, it never will be written. Ever.

So I say if you;re a plotter, good for you. But for those like me, beware forcing yourself into being what you're not. Have a great weekend and can't wait to read more about Simulation, Tara. You know I'm Pop Travel crazy.

Brinda said...

It's great to hear about other author's processes. I outline and it's common for new ideas to pop up and change the direction. I'm flexible.

Jeff Hargett said...

I usually plot/outline just enough to know where I don't want the story to go. There exists a happy medium between the two for me--happy when I find it.

Laura said...

Cool to read about your process. Sounds very similar to mine, but I never outline the end - maybe that's why I always end up with the dreaded saggy middle!
Laurax

Nicole said...

I don't outline on paper much, but I do plan it out in my head in advance.

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