Outlining – a good start to any story.

By WritingMum Learn the Craft Comments Off on Outlining – a good start to any story.

Have you ever sat down and wrote 12 pages of a story and said “Okay now what? Where do we go from here? Your characters have been telling you their story loud and clear but after while their story comes to a complete halt and your characters are silent. You are experiencing what is common to many writers – the cursed writers block.

For years and years, I fought Writer’s block.  I would ambitiously start a project and  never finish it. This was not getting me anywhere. I didn’t understand what my problem was.  I thought maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a novelist. Partially out of fear and insecurity, I let my dream sit on the shelf.

A few years later, after the birth of my second son, my dream broke its silence. “Its time.” It whispered to me. “Its time to make your dream a reality.”

I started reading through many of my uncompleted works, trying to find an answer to why I had never completed them. My answer soon became clear. I would write everything I could on the story – but then I would simply lose direction. Has this happened to you?

I began to look to my many writing books for answers to how to write the book from start to finish… one key element stood out for me OUTLINE.  Maybe that is what my problem was. I would write and write until I lost interest in the story.  I decided to make another attempt to write something. This time I decided to try outlining before I wrote the story.

I had an idea for a book for children. It was a beginners novel.  So the first thing I did was jot down ideas for the book – brainstorming. Once I had some good ideas from the brain storming. I began to Outline the story.

With the outline I included the cast of characters with a brief description about them.  Then I wrote the story in abbreviated form. It is important when writing to know where the story is headed.  Once I completed the outline, I went to work on writing the story. For three weeks I wrote solely on this project and for the very first time wrote a complete story.

From that time on when I start a story the first thing I do is brainstorm and write an abbreviated version of the story.  Once I have the story written, I will add the padding including the details, and back stories etc. Very often my outlines are multiple pages long depending upon the length of the piece.

I keep this handy little list, I made up using the word OUTLINE to remind me what I need to include in the outline.

O- opening line,

U – understanding character motivation,

T- tell the story,

L- list the characters

I- information needed (research)

N- nothing but the bones

E- ending.

What techniques do you use when you write? Do you write freehand? Do you outline? Please tell us.

With the busy time of the Christmas season upon us, I won’t be writing again until the New Year. Wishing you and your families a very joyous Christmas and a happy New Year 2010.


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