The Work Behind the Story LoZ
This is a forum where people can discuss how to write a good story. Do you do research to back up what you write? Do you plan out your story with an outline? Do you plan out your characters beforehand? Come here to talk about all that.
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Do you create an outline before writing a story, or do you plan as you go?
1 Of course I write an outline!
2 What's an outline?
3 Yeah...sometimes I create an outline.
4 I wing it! No outline for me!
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Cimar of Turalis WildeHopps

Alright. As promised, here are several short examples on how to outline different aspects of a story. I will be updating this as I get new ideas from folks about outlining as well as when I find available time to update this. Now onto the examples..and of course, a guide to let you know how to find what you're looking for more easily.

I. Characters

II. Story

III. Scenes

IV. Plot

V. Combining parts I-IV

Now, onto the actual guide to outlining your story.

*

I. Characters

Characters can be somewhat hard to model and create without an outline to help you out. Even with an outline, sometimes your characters can produce epic fails. So, in order to prevent any character fails, here are some ideas about how to produce characters that people can interact with, feel for, and generally love.

Number 1: Create a profile.

Just as each of us has a profile page that we use to let other writers know a little bit about ourselves, our likes, dislikes, etc., so should your characters have their own 'profile' that they can share with you, the writer. Create the details about your character before you start writing about them. How tall are they, what color is their hair, do they have any unusual features, ie long nose, one leg shorter than the other, etc. and their personality. This allows you to corral in your ideas about what you want each character to be like when you finally produce your first chapter as you will already be able to mentally, as well as physically, put them into the scenes you create for them.

EX.Joe Smo: Joe has brown hair, blue eyes and is about 5'9" tall. He has somewhat tanned skin, although he burns easily and is know for his gorilla-like arms. He has a temper issue, yet, is usually gentle unless aroused to anger when someone hurts his friends.

Ok, I think you get the idea.

Number 2: Information Page

This is where you get more specific about your characters ie, the nitty gritty details. As you don't put too much personal information in your own profile, the same goes for your characters, otherwise, your profile turns from a small paragraph to a ginormous text block of doom, and nobody wants that. It just makes it that much more difficult to write about them when you have to search through all the extra details, and, just like readers don't like the massive text block of death, you, would not like them either and will grow to dislike your characters, something that a writer shouldn't have happen! This text about your character tells you what happens to them in the story, kind of like a general story outline, but focused on that specific character instead of everyone. It allows you to get to know them inside and out, instead of just making it up as you go along.

EX.Joe Smo- Joe starts out his life as normal as anyone else, until his sister is kidnapped by a gang of ninjas that is after her to perfom secret voodoo rituals. He leaves on an adventure to find his sister, meeting up with a old man named Bob who helps him on his journey. He eventually makes it the secret ninja castle, and, with Bob's help, defeats the evil Ninja lord and saves his sister.

Alright, this isn't too in depth, however, you can write as much about your character as you would like. Sometimes mine can be almost a half page long as I need that much to describe a character role in a story. It all depends on what you feel comfortable with.

II. Story

Ah, this is one of my personal favorite things to plan out in a story as there is so much open space to work with. You don't have any OoC problems with a storyline as you are the original author to it. This guide will be a little more open to writers as a story should really come from the heart, so only a general outline will be posted here in order to guide people along.

Story Outline

What you want to do is to first, plot out where and when you want your story to take place. This will set the stage for everything else in your storyboard.

(Example) Storyboard for Bob's Adventure

Time: Mid ninteenth century, around 1850's.

Place: Hawaii (because everyone likes Hawaii)

Think of this basic information as a play, with the time and location as the stage ready to be filled with the actors (characters), props (setting) and story (plot). Next comes what you want to do with the story itself. Where you want it to go, how many chapters it might be...as I said before, you want this to be a rough outline, as stories are constantly evolving overtime. A dynamic (constantly changing) storyboard is much better than a static one. Don't be afraid to change this at a later time, as change is good when it comes to a stoy.

(Example)

Length: 50,000 words

Chapters: 10-15

Introduction: Chapters 1-4

Body: Chapters 5-8 (12 for 15 chapter story)

Climax and Conclusion: 9-10 (13-15)

This type of structure allows you to be flexible with your outline, while still giving it a basic framework to work with. You know can go on and plan out what you would like in each chapter, as you know how many chapter you have to work with, instead of guessing and running too long, or too short.

With this said, I now go onto the next exciting chapter of outlining in this guide which is...Scenes.

3/8/2010 . Edited 3/11/2010 #1
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