Creating Plot Outlines
The Plot Outline
Ok! So you just had a super intense brainwave and believe it would make a great story. You have the inspiration, the energy and the excitement and cant wait to go ahead and write it! Great!
Now STOP and back off from the pen paper or keyboard. Diving into your writing headfirst works for the very very few, what you need is a plot outline. Without a plot outline, writing a story is like building a house with no blueprints to follow. A plot outline is your blueprint, the skeleton to provide the basic support for everything going on in your novel.
Now making a plot outline is very easy, you just need to put the time in. The amount of detail you put into your outline does not matter, it can be detailed with full scene descriptions or just a couple of lines stating the basic route. As I said, it is the skeleton; the flesh can come later, most likely in your second draft. It is always best to make a minimum of two drafts of all your
A Short Guide to BrainstormingA Short Guide to Brainstorming7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Got nothing to write? Stuck in the middle of a story? Just getting your mind wrapped around a new idea? Asking yourself, "Where do I go from here?"
Here is the two-step guide to story development. It works every time, 100% guaranteed.
Ask yourself this simple question: "What if?"
Staring at a blank page? Ask "What if . . . ?"
Stuck in the middle of a story? Ask "What if . . . ?"
Don't know how to end your story? Ask "What if . . . ?"
Don't think your story is going in quite the right direction? Ask "What if . . .?"
Ask yourself this second simple question: "Why?"
What if aliens invaded our planet?
What if the antagonist is obsessed with redheaded women?
What if the good guy dies in the end?
What if the protagonist lies to his love interest instead of telling her the thing he desperately wants to get out?
Here's the point:
Absolutely anything is possible in the world o
Plot Saver ListPlot Saver List6 years ago in Writing More Like This
1. Kill a main character.
2. Send your characters on a journey.
3. Have your characters lose an important item.
4. Have a character go crazy.
5. A volcano erupts nearby.
6. Your characters stumble on a key.
7. Your characters throw a man off a bridge.
8. Your character gets drunk.
9. Your character finds a lost child.
10. Your character is attacked by a bandit.
11. Your character develops a crush on someone.
12. Add a new character.
13. Your main character trips and breaks his/her arm.
14. Characters argue over milk.
15. Have a character say I am afraid I have lost my watch
16. Write a scene that takes place in a boat.
17. Have a character who wears glasses break them.
18. Have a character play pool.
19. Kill a duck.
20. Use a fire in your novel.
21. Send in the ninjas!
22. Add a one-night stand.
23. Get your characters lost in the forest.
24. Your main characters mother dies.
25. Two characters kiss.
26. One character walks in on two others having sex.
27. A supporti
Elements of StoryElements of Story7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Updated Mar. 18th 2009
The following is a self-discovered list of elements contained in an excellent story:
An interesting and intriguing main character, an individual with a unique past that has made him who he is at the time of the story. Be sure to explain the important aspects of this backstory where appropriate.
This main character must have a story goal: a mission to accomplish, a mystery to solve, his past to reconcile, a villain to overthrow, a treasure to find, a person to save, etc.
Along with this goal, the character must have an all-consuming desire that drives him to accomplish what he sets out to achieve. Love, revenge, money, justice, purpose, an identity crisis, etc.
Fear. This is the person or thing that has the power to stop him from accomplishing his goal. A threat.
An enemy. If another person, this enemy must be smart, strong, and resourceful with a goal directly opposing that of your main character, and he must have an equally strong desire to ful
A Guide to Writing StyleA Guide to Writing Style6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing Style - The Bottom Line
Words are like sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. - Robert Southey
Prose is architecture, not interior decorating. - Ernest Hemingway
Writing style is made up of two things: cadence and variation.
Good style is clear, readable, and invisible. Its purpose is not to attract attention to itself but to transport readers into the world of your story. If your readers notice your style without purposefully intending to study it, your style needs to be improved and refined. Good style, however, is transparent so that your readers simply see the characters and world of your story rather than the words you use to portray them.
To write with cadence simply means that your writing should sound natural. If it sounds right to you, it probably is--but if it doesnt sound right,
How to Start and Stay WritingHow to Start and Stay Writing6 years ago in Writing More Like This
I recently solicited my watchers to ask me writing questions that I would then attempt to answer in a writing guide such as this. This article is my first response, and there will be many more to come.
I've been asked to give advice on ways a writer can begin to put words on a page. The bottom line is as simple as this: sit your butt down and write.
Duh, right? It's the only way I know to actually write.
Sure, sitting your butt in a chair is easy, but getting your fingers to move and stay moving is a challenge. Here are three things that have helped me.
1) Have a goal.
Your goal can be as simple as "describe the person in this picture" or as ambitious as "write 1,000 words of my novel." Having a goal will drive you forward and motivate you to keep writing. Whatever you do, don't move your butt from your chair until you accomplish your goal.
Other practical goals include setting a timer, writing to the end of a chapter or scene, and completing a particular section of an outline or numbe
The Wasteland AKA the MIDDLEThe Wasteland AKA the MIDDLE6 years ago in Writing More Like This
The Trackless Wasteland known as: The MIDDLE
The middle (of a story) KILLS me. I freeze when I have to decide which way things are going to go, and how, and that happens during the middle for me.
Middle, middle, middle... It's the Slough of Despond!
The Middle is where I usually fizzle out.
The middle is DANGEROUS territory.
Why? Because the Middle of a story is where you have a million-and-one options, a million-and-one directions to choose from, and a million-and-one ways to really show off your writing skills.
The Middle is also, where you have a million-and-one opportunities to really screw up your story for good. Opportunities that will send you spiraling into ever tightening circles that eventually jam you into a corner you can't get out of. In short: get you Lost in your own story.
You KNOW yo
Story Writing for BEGINNERSStory Writing for BEGINNERS6 years ago in Writing More Like This
I want to write a story. I have a couple of ideas, but no idea what to do with them, or even how to begin! Help?!
-- Newbie Writer
So when you wanna write a story, where do you begin? With your PASSION!
Write what you KNOW & LOVE
What do you KNOW, really? What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Whether it's cave-diving, model trains, skate-boarding, sewing, horses, mythology, ghost legends, or particle physics your passion is where you will find your most unique and powerful work.
Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have seen, done, or studied.
Sticking with your passions and your personal experiences also helps you make fewer MISTAKES.
Case in point, someone who has never kissed isn't going to be able to write a kissing scene as well as someone who Has. Worst of all,
STUCK on a Short Story?STUCK on a Short Story?5 years ago in Writing More Like This
10 Second Tip:
Stuck on a SHORT Story?
Stuck on what to put in your story?
-- This is the list of things I check off when I create a story:
Do you have a Setting in mind?
- Modern day
Do you have ONE big main event for the story to focus on?
- A battle
- An escape
- A love scene
- An act of revenge
- A sacrifice
- A treasure to claim
- A magic spell
- A transformation
Do you know what you want to SAY with your story?
- Love sucks.
- Friendship is forever.
- No good deed goes unpunished.
- A snake can only ever be a snake.
- Sometimes you have to take chances.
- Magic makes things worse, not better.
Do you know where you want to END your story?
- A wedding?
- A funeral?
- A bloody battlefield?
- An empty street?
- The bottom of an ocean?
Do you have your three central characters ready?
-- Just to make things interesting, any one of t
Plots and Plot Twists.Plots and Plot Twists.4 years ago in Writing More Like This
What is a plot? A plot is a series of sequential events that make up your story. Sure, anyone could have told you that. But, how to write one? How can you make something this simple extraordinary?
Plot is comprised of 3 different parts; beginning, middle and end. Think of it this way this is how the problem started, this is how we fix it, and this is how we fixed it. Make sense? As long as you stick to this simple outline, it will be much easier for you to create your plot. Plots are also comprised of other parts; the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
The Exposition: This is the very beginning of your story in which your characters and some important themes are laid out. Describe the setting; time era, place and who the characters are. Describe to the audience just WH
Character Creation TipsCharacter Creation Tips8 years ago in Writing More Like This
Note: I wrote this after reading a similar article in The Writer magazine about a year ago. Hope it's helpful!
Not all characters are created equal. Here are some steps to make yours superior.
Figure out what your character wants, needs, desires. A closer relationship with God? A place to belong? Just to survive? Figure it out. You cant move on to number 2 until you have.
Now that you know what your character most desires, you should be able to figure out what he/she most fears. Doing the wrong thing, being alone, death? They are the polar opposites of your characters desires.
Go back in time to before your story begins and create a detailed backstory for your character. What happened in to past to create in him the desires and fears that he has now? Be specific. Write out individual scenes, or at leas
10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing5 years ago in Writing More Like This
I hear the term 'foreshadowing' a lot. That's when you hint at stuff to come, right? So yeah, but how do I DO it?
Foreshadowing is when the opening scene of a story is a kind of nutshell prophecy for the whole story.
* In a Horror, this is when the originating Bad Thing happens.
* In a Mystery or Crime story, it's when the first victim is slain, and/or object (McGuffin) goes missing.
* In a Romance this is where the main character meets their soon-to-be lover for a fleeting but memorable moment.
* In a Sci-fi, this is where the ruling Theory is presented.
* In a Gothic, this is where the main character transforms into a monster for the first time.
This also reveals the Premise, or ruling argument that the story is trying to illustrate; what the story is trying to Prove.
The results of Revenge
The path of Ambition
The reality of Love
The sacrifices one mak
Interior MonologuesInterior Monologues6 years ago in Writing More Like This
"I was just wondering what you think about interior monologues, long passages of reflection?" -- Curious Kitty
A note on:
-- Interior Monologues
Whether you are considering adding a lengthy monologue to a story, or intend the monologue to be the story itself where the focus of the entire story is on one character's thoughts and feelings with very little action -- from my observations and experimentation, the readers either love them or hate them. There's no in-between.
However, it is notable that the internal monologue stories that are sought out most frequently tend to focus on a profound emotion of some kind: grief, loneliness, heartache... Usually by either those seeking to deal with such an emotion, as a kind of therapy, or by those that have never felt such emotions. (Strong emotional stories are extremely popular among young adults.)
In both cases, not only does the reader seek to submerge the
High Speed STORIESHigh Speed STORIES6 years ago in Writing More Like This
When you absolutely, positively, HAVE to get the story done.
The trick to speed-writing is to Plan the story out first, more commonly known as PLOTTING.
"Diabolic" was written in 30 days -- all 15 chapters at 2500 to 3000 words per chapter, adding up to around 80k (thousand) words. A novel is 90k to 100k. I was able to do this because I already knew my main characters really well, (Vincent and Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII,) and I knew where my story ENDED. Basically, once I knew where I wanted to go, all I had to do was figure out how to get there.
Note: If you're interested, DIABOLIC can be found at Media Miner. The 'Search' feature is your friend!
The plot outline I used only had 5 points:
1. Beginning - The Main Character gets involved with the Villain or Lover.
2. Complications - The situation worsens.
3. Emotional Turning Point - Panic Attack! Fear and/or Guilt vs. Desperation
4. Reversal - The wor
Essentials of a Short StoryEssentials of a Short Story6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Essentials of a Short Story
Quotes raped from a critique of Nathanial Hawthorn's Twice Told Tales by
Edgar Allen Poe - 1837
Edgar Allen Poe, celebrated as one of the finest short fiction writers of all time, was also a literary critic. These are bits of his wisdom on writing short stories, gleaned from one of his critiques.
"The true critic will but demand that that the (story's) design intended be accomplished, to the fullest extent, by the means most advantageously applicable " -- Poe
Poe's Prerequisites -- in a Nutshell:
To deliver fullest satisfaction, a short story should be structured:
1) To be read in one sitting.
2) Using a deliberate number of characters and incidents.
3) With words restrained in style and tone.
4) All done that should be done, with nothing done which should not be.
Poe's Prerequisites -- in DETAIL
A short story should be structured:
1) To be rea
Writing ANGSTWriting ANGST5 years ago in Writing More Like This
One way to add excitement to your story is by adding lots of bad-guys, also known as EXTERNAL Conflict. Another way is by adding INTERNAL Conflict, more commonly known as Angst.
I'm sure most of you have noticed by now that most movie characters, and far too many book characters, are One-Dimensional. They do stuff, but they don't face any personality issues: a hang-up, a fear, paranoia, a moral code, a love interest, a strong dislike Or worse, they do have all these things, but they never really affect the story.
There's a Plot Arc, things happen, but no Character Arc. The things that happen don't affect the characters emotionally.
Where's the ANGST?
Answer these two questions:
1. What is your character's biggest character flaw?
(Think: 7 Deadly Sins.)
The Ultimate Writing GuideThe Ultimate Writing Guide7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Have great tutorial that you want to show off to help others? Or need a great tutorial yourself to make your characters shine across the battlefield? Then check out the description for more information.
INTERNAL CONFLICTINTERNAL CONFLICT6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Note: this is how the professional authors do it. That doesn't mean YOU have to. As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest.
His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress. His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown. His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.
Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart. She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast. He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal. The fear in her soul told her to stop, and yet her body begged for his mouth on her flesh. I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy... He fired her blood more than any other man.
She turned away from his kiss. "Please, I can't."
His gaze narrowed, then he smiled. "
Basic PLOTTINGBasic PLOTTING6 years ago in Writing More Like This
A plot is the pattern a story follows, the most common being:
All successful (read: popular) stories have patterns. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes it's complex, but all of the stories read or told often enough to remain in the popular mind of any culture have a pattern, a plot.
Here are some examples of simple plot patterns
American Dream Version:
He became very rich.
The Heroic version:
He became the leader of his people.
He died in the middle of a glorious battle to defend his land, and became a legendary figure that would never be forgotten.
Aristotle's Elements of a Greek Tragedy - simplified:
Act One: He rose to glory.
Plot Devices-Deus Ex Machina?Plot Devices-Deus Ex Machina?6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Deus Ex Machina or Chekhov's Gun?
"What are your thoughts on Good Deus Ex Machinas? I find them hard to pull off realistically in a plot." -- Puzzled Writer
A Deus Ex Machina is when the Hero doesn't find the solution to the story's problem. The solution is handed to them, or taken care of, by someone or something far more powerful.
From TV Tropes:
A Deus Ex Machina is an outside force that solves a seemingly unsolvable problem in an extremely unlikely (and, usually, anticlimactic) way. If the secret documents are in Russian, one of the spies suddenly reveals that they learned the language. If the writers have just lost funding, a millionaire suddenly arrives, announces an interest in their movie, and offers all the finances they need to make it. If The Hero is dangling at the edge of a cliff with a villain stepping on his
CharacterizationCharacterization--the Unmary-Sue UnGary-StuCharacterization5 years ago in Writing More Like This
1. Pick a flaw or a quirk FIRST.
- A vegetarian that eats chickens because Chickens are stupid and so they don't count.
- An Animal activist that loves animals to death, but ends up loving to eat meat.
- A person that is all anti-prostitute against Johns and ends up with one himself (real one).
- A punk that loves fluffy animals.
- A biker chick that goes crazy over plushies.
Quirks are made up of contrasting traits that you would expect to co-exist together. For example, someone phobic of touch--you wouldn't expect them to fall in love with the upbeat girl that hugs everyone. Quirks add dimension and are quick ways to characterize in a short amount of time.
One quirk of mine is that I organize like a fiend on my computer and I'm anal about grammar, but when it comes to cleaning physical space, I suck at it.
In Hotaru no Hikari, the quirk is that a girl that works, really, really hard, is a workaholic in the real wor
Plotting-Murphy's Law MethodPlotting-Murphy's Law Method6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Plotting Tricks: The Murphy's Law Method
"What Can go Wrong SHOULD go Wrong."
If you want an easy way to plot out a story that your readers can't guess the end to by the fourth chapter, then THIS is the method for you!
Basically, you begin with a character and something they desire. They go after their desire which immediately sparks complications which become a Problem that your character has to solve.
Once the character applies their chosen Solution to their Problem, Murphy's Law kicks in. The Solution triggers yet another problem.
This pattern continues--Problem > Solution > Problem--so on and so forth until All the problems are solved and your character either reaches their goal, or achieves an even better one--or dies.
This method is extremely effective when plotting out Adventure stories of any kind. In fact, Van Helsing, National Treasure, Inkheart, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, the James Bond movies, most RP video games,
Character MotivationCharacter Motivation6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Everyone's heard that characters should have goals, something they want and must strive for, overcoming obstacles and antagonists in order to obtain. Because, well, a story is the record of your character's journey toward achieving a goal.
While all of this is true, I think a lot of writers lose sight of an even more important aspect of character. That is, motivation. Sure, you know what your character wants.
That's the gist of motivation. What is the psychology and reasoning behind your character's goal? If your character is driven to make money, is his motivation greed? To pay off a debt? To support his family?
Motivation is your character's emotional connection with the reader. When the reader comes to understand why your character has set out to achieve his goal, they will understand your character in human terms, relate to him, and become invested in what happens to your character throughout the story.
Without a clear motivation, your character's goals don't mean much. So wha