Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm a Planner, Sort of

I've found many times that by the time I reach chapter twelve, my outline is pretty much mush. Other than the main direction, the specific action I envisioned is obsolete.

My characters take me in their logical direction. And I'm good with that.

But the outline gave me two things I couldn't live without.

I've learned I have to know the theme of my story before I can even get a reasonable opening line, one that represents the novel for the reader.

With the theme explored during the outline, the narrative between the action and dialogue becomes consistent in purpose and texture.

Sure, it makes sense that in some genres, where actions that drive the plot are supposed to be a mystery, the characters must do some weaving about.

But I've learned from studying the novels I enjoy that the plot has to have a single focus. There can be a half-dozen sub-plots, but that story line I start in chapter one and wrap up in chapter fifty-two is the underlying drama of my novels.

My action may veer from my outline after Act I, but I know how my protagonist will end up.

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  1. Good points you make, i think people do vary in their approaches, but some things are very handy to now, like theme and direction. direction in particular can be seen by some as stifling, but I don't think it has to be rigid, just that rudderless is not much fun to follow.

    Moody Writing

  2. Yeah, I'm not so good with outlining, but I have to know what direction I'm headed in and where I want to end up or I couldn't write at all.