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Old 06-18-2015, 12:48 PM   #1
Coconut_Joe
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When your outline fails...

So I am not sure how many people also use outlines for their writing. But with short form (under 10 000 words) I tend to have all the major plot / scenes planned out in my head before I start writing. But I ran into a rather frustrating / cry worthy problem.

Between the resolution and the conclusion (all of which HAS BEEN written) I have about 16 hours of competently un thought out time. IN a story that takes place over less than 48 hours...

Such a massive fail... and the hardest thing is everything I've tried to come up with so far has felt uber contrived to the point that i felt the need to vent. So I did. Here. perhaps a few of you out there can relate with this frustration? lol

I don'tt know but this is a serious pain in the ass.

Edit - after a lot of cursing and hair pulling I think i figured it out :P
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
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And you haven't started writing yet, right? I suggest you start writing then, and if you've really got a story together the middle should start unfolding as you get to it. At least it would with me.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
And you haven't started writing yet, right? I suggest you start writing then, and if you've really got a story together the middle should start unfolding as you get to it. At least it would with me.
No, I have written everything except for the part I didn't out line.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coconut_Joe View Post
No, I have written everything except for the part I didn't out line.
I never use an outline. My outline is in my head.

I only write when inspired. Sometimes, I can't type fast enough.

As the story progresses and unfolds, I add and/or delete to it in real time.

I suppose if I was more the editorial type, I'd feel more comfortable using an outline.

I'm more the creative writer.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Coconut_Joe View Post
No, I have written everything except for the part I didn't out line.
Then you are in trouble. If I'd done that, it would probably mean that I was following an outline too slavishly. I gather notes before writing, but don't outline. I probably therefore wouldn't be in your corner, because I was creating as I went along and the ideas and writing could flow more loosely and not be limited by a presupposed structure--I don't stay committed even to the presumed ending.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:59 PM   #6
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I've had structural problems like that before. The best solution is usually to put it away for a few days, then go back to it. Frequently a small change to the premise of the story will then present itself and resolve all the problems.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:19 PM   #7
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I'm trying to do outlines on any new ones. Before I just winged it with a few notes. Lately I've tried doing the endings first so I know where to head, but to do that I have to have a good idea of all that's going to happen inbetween.

And that seems to be where you are stuck. I've tried to just wing it on the ones I'm working on that did that. With mixed success. I think the idea to drop it for a while and come back days, weeks, months later is a good idea.

One thing I've wanted to try is work backwards. I don't think it'll work, but when I was planner/scheduler in a factory I worked from the shipping date that was required, then time to package, then time to final inspect, time for each production step with inspections as they were needed, etc etc. Filling in connecting charts for consumables and materials, until I came to the date we got the order. Sometimes I had to backtrack when the sales man promised something shouldn't have been able to do. But you get the idea. I guess you would say my version of a PERT chart. I haven't tried it with a story but it could work.

So maybe start from the end you have, and figure out what is needed in the middle to get there. Yeah, sounds weak.

Ok, so how about the short version: Leave it alone for a while, then wing it.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:50 PM   #8
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Sometimes if you just write, free write it will release what you're trying to write.

The other trick I use is to take it to bed with me and allow my brain to percolate it overnight.

Then, when I awaken the next morning, I can't type fast enough to get everything down before I forget it.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanJillParker View Post
...

Then, when I awaken the next morning, I can't type fast enough to get everything down before I forget it.
I love/hate it when that happens. Really frustrating is when you get to the end of what you were thinking about, and you've lost that brilliant twist somewhere.

Similar problem is when I'm out walking the dog. I do a lot of thinking then, between bagging poops and stopping him from chasing smaller critters, and all too often I'll come up with something golden, just an idea, or a paragraph, or a superb exchange of dialogue.

Then I get home, sit down, and, and, and, stare at the dreck that just came out.

edited: that does happen, but often I do get good ideas and remember them.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:32 PM   #10
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Well good for you, Pilot. Thanks for your help.

Typical snotty post. You want to know why people can't stand you? Look no further.

To the OP, people write how they write. Some like outlines, others don't. Some like to use the "just write" mentality, but I find that always turns out to be crap. I like and need outlines. Usually it works just fine. Sometimes you run into trouble. At least you know it's sounding contrived--that's something. in that case don't flog a dead horse. Toss it, and try again. Most of the time, it will work itself out. But if it doesn't, then you may have to totally reconceptualize. Which is a huge pain in the ass, but every method has its problems.

Oh, unless you're Pilot. Just follow his example, and soon you'll have thousands of mediocre stories no one likes to read.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Then you are in trouble. If I'd done that, it would probably mean that I was following an outline too slavishly. I gather notes before writing, but don't outline. I probably therefore wouldn't be in your corner, because I was creating as I went along and the ideas and writing could flow more loosely and not be limited by a presupposed structure--I don't stay committed even to the presumed ending.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Then you are in trouble. If I'd done that, it would probably mean that I was following an outline too slavishly. I gather notes before writing, but don't outline. I probably therefore wouldn't be in your corner, because I was creating as I went along and the ideas and writing could flow more loosely and not be limited by a presupposed structure--I don't stay committed even to the presumed ending.
well my biggest problem is that as far as I am concerned the outline worked, I just had a really large over site. (contradiction right?) :P

And being me I am unable to ignore said over-site, so something will have to change !! lol

And i didn't physically outline it, i just knew where i wanted it to go, and the major points on how i got there.

As I said it is short form :P


As a side note I hate all the drivel you find posted on these sites that leads no where. Good writing or not.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coconut_Joe View Post
well my biggest problem is that as far as I am concerned the outline worked, I just had a really large over site. (contradiction right?) :P

And being me I am unable to ignore said over-site, so something will have to change !! lol

And i didn't physically outline it, i just knew where i wanted it to go, and the major points on how i got there.

As I said it is short form :P


As a side note I hate all the drivel you find posted on these sites that leads no where. Good writing or not.
Are you writing an episode of 24? if the 16 hours of missing time don't matter, they don't matter if the story works. have them go to sleep, watch tv, go to a movie until they need to get back down to business.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:45 PM   #13
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Are you writing an episode of 24? if the 16 hours of missing time don't matter, they don't matter if the story works. have them go to sleep, watch tv, go to a movie until they need to get back down to business.
yes that has been what I have been considering trying to do, hence the contrived bit of the OP. lol It was just a vent post.

Nothing to "end of the world" like. I am sure I'll get it good, just gotta stew on it for a few more hours and work out my frustration at my silly over-site.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:49 PM   #14
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yes that has been what I have been considering trying to do, hence the contrived bit of the OP. lol It was just a vent post.

Nothing to "end of the world" like. I am sure I'll get it good, just gotta stew on it for a few more hours and work out my frustration at my silly over-site.
Do they really matter or is just something you notice? If I read it, would I say 'what happened to those 16 hours?' ... if it's not even noticeable, don't even mention it.
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:12 PM   #15
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Do they really matter or is just something you notice? If I read it, would I say 'what happened to those 16 hours?' ... if it's not even noticeable, don't even mention it.
Haven't got a clue but is worth thinking upon.
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:20 PM   #16
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Well good for you, Pilot. Thanks for your help.

Typical snotty post. You want to know why people can't stand you? Look no further.

To the OP, people write how they write. Some like outlines, others don't. Some like to use the "just write" mentality, but I find that always turns out to be crap. I like and need outlines. Usually it works just fine. Sometimes you run into trouble. At least you know it's sounding contrived--that's something. in that case don't flog a dead horse. Toss it, and try again. Most of the time, it will work itself out. But if it doesn't, then you may have to totally reconceptualize. Which is a huge pain in the ass, but every method has its problems.

Oh, unless you're Pilot. Just follow his example, and soon you'll have thousands of mediocre stories no one likes to read.
I carefully couched everything in terms if it were me--acknowledging that the OP is not me. But I can't give responses from other than my experience.

I suggest that you're the one being snotty here, including the irrelevant slam at my writing. I trust the OP can see what's what.
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coconut_Joe View Post
well my biggest problem is that as far as I am concerned the outline worked, I just had a really large over site. (contradiction right?) :P

And being me I am unable to ignore said over-site, so something will have to change !! lol

And i didn't physically outline it, i just knew where i wanted it to go, and the major points on how i got there.

As I said it is short form :P


As a side note I hate all the drivel you find posted on these sites that leads no where. Good writing or not.
Haven't you brought this to the forum because your outline hasn't worked for you? You only outlined the beginning and the end and when you got to the middle you were stumped, because there was no outline there. So, logically, if the outlining is working for you better than anything else that's been suggested, don't you now need to fill in the middle? --if other suggestions given don't appeal to you?
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by SusanJillParker View Post
I never use an outline. My outline is in my head.

I only write when inspired. Sometimes, I can't type fast enough.

As the story progresses and unfolds, I add and/or delete to it in real time.

I suppose if I was more the editorial type, I'd feel more comfortable using an outline.

I'm more the creative writer.
This is pretty much my process, I just write, type first ask questions later. An outline makes me feel like a cornered rat
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:42 PM   #19
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Do they really matter or is just something you notice? If I read it, would I say 'what happened to those 16 hours?' ... if it's not even noticeable, don't even mention it.
I'm with you...if a story takes place over forty eight hours well....they sleep right? They eat, they shower go to the bathroom...

We don't need every single minute as if the story was a season of "24" Have something happen and say, "She awoke the next morning..." next morning...there goes eight hours burned
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:37 PM   #20
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I rarely have an outline when I start. I either have the last sentence in my head, or a key event, and then the writing is figuring out how to get to that event, or away from it.

Started writing my latest story with a vignette from a bus commute (I see lots of characters on the bus), but had no idea where it was going until about 750 words in. Then something went click and there it was, all spread out in front of me. Changed the gender of the narrator and now the story is writing itself - I'm just keeping up! It's even given me some ideas for follow on parts.

Sometimes I don't even know what will be at the end of a paragraph.

I can get to the end of a story, read it over, and think, wow, did I write that? The real test is if I turn myself on, reading it over for the first time!
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:34 PM   #21
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Yeah I get lost whenever I try that, to much to fast to soon. I defiantly need the trail of bred crumbs strewn out before me.
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Old 06-19-2015, 03:03 AM   #22
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No, the upshot of your response was "Well then you're up sh*t's creek. That would never happen to ME because I don't work that way."

It's not helpful to the OP at all; there is no point other than to state, "I don't have these problems." Whoopie for you.

What good is that to anyone?

No, it's not irrelevant. You make your writing an issue in everything you say, sometimes more aggressively, sometimes more passively.

In this answer, you imply that you have a better working method than the OP. You don't offer him help with his problems, you take it as an opportunity to tout yourself.

Which raises the issues of your own writing; I'm merely responding.

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I carefully couched everything in terms if it were me--acknowledging that the OP is not me. But I can't give responses from other than my experience.

I suggest that you're the one being snotty here, including the irrelevant slam at my writing. I trust the OP can see what's what.
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Old 06-19-2015, 03:18 AM   #23
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Edit - after a lot of cursing and hair pulling I think i figured it out :P
Glad you worked it out, phew! When i find my self in this situation the only things that seem to help are doing mediocre things that keep my hands occupied while my brain can wander -until the idea comes to me (weeding, washing up, falling asleep) or putting it in a drawer (figuratively speaking) and waiting until some happens in real life to act as the catalyst that gives me inspiration.
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Old 06-19-2015, 05:57 AM   #24
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No, the upshot of your response was "Well then you're up sh*t's creek. That would never happen to ME because I don't work that way."

It's not helpful to the OP at all; there is no point other than to state, "I don't have these problems." Whoopie for you.

What good is that to anyone?

No, it's not irrelevant. You make your writing an issue in everything you say, sometimes more aggressively, sometimes more passively.

In this answer, you imply that you have a better working method than the OP. You don't offer him help with his problems, you take it as an opportunity to tout yourself.

Which raises the issues of your own writing; I'm merely responding.
I'm sure pilot does not get writers block or the equivalent, but that's because his stories are A/B/C formula stories with no character development and nothing resembling an emotion

Boy meets boy, boy fucks boy...usually behind a beaded curtain. With the exception of the world wide settings there is nothing different about them.

Pilot writes like an assembly line. "Time to write. Meet Boy A meet boy B....cock in ass, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Next.

Its easy to never have a blockage when you are writing in that style blockages come from trying to get the characters and conflict right or getting yourself into a box in a complex story.

Pilot writes like a robot and it shows. People want some emotion here regardless of category and that's why he may have an amazing amount of stories here, but no one reads them.

Interesting to note SJP is just as prolific, but their stories do seem to capture some emotion and feeling.

And I think that is because like them or not, SJP is passionate about writing, you can tell in their stories and posts, they love it. They appreciate the gift.

For pilot its like going to work and punching a clock every day.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:03 AM   #25
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Anytime he brings up himself up, that is to say, every time, he makes things about him. Ok, you want to talk about yourself as an author? Let's discuss. It's not irrelevant.

"Mediocre that no one reads" is not a slam. It's an observation.

Tepid ratings.
Meager comments
Meagre views
Hundreds upon hundreds of the same thing.

Discuss.

Oh WAIT, WAIT, I forgot. He just took a vacation with his e-book royalties. That's right. Anytime you point out the obvious (above) he likes to bring that up.

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