Outline @ The End

I do not outline. Or at least not when you are supposed to outline, which is, before the story is written. I tried that. I was forced to do that in school. It was fine for essays and research papers, yet horrid for fiction. Outlines made my stories too formulated. It also made me make decisions I wasn’t ready to make yet.

The reason I start a story in the first place is a scene occurs to me that is so engrossing I must write the story that surrounds it. All my efforts are for that one encounter to happen. Writing is the mechanism for my imagination to take shape.

“Solstice Night” was the first story I ever actually put to paper. I could picture the two main characters clearly. I almost heard the thumping of the music of the bar. I knew the floor was polished concrete and what clothes they were wearing, but I didn’t even know their names yet. I only knew they had to meet.

Scene One: He was six foot six of marble splendor. He had a warrior’s frame without being overly muscled. His ink black hair was buzzed close to his scalp and his face was clean shaven. As pleasing a composition he made, Beo would have paid no notice, except his eyes. They were black and bottomless. They were eternity.

Exposition is the easiest part for me to write. The origin stories of super heroes always fascinated me. After my stories begin, after that pinnacle moment of meeting, I work backwards. I craft the world and circumstances for the characters to meet. Moreover, I have to create a world that would make them who they are. I write scenes, then work out the logistics. Writing gives the author full control over how much detail to include. When arriving at a scene, decisions must be made. Such as how did the characters get there (plane, train automobile), do you include mundane details (eating, sleeping), can you say the same thing simpler? A writer can bring the reader in with a single line or pages and pages of description.

Introducing new characters is a great way to progress the story. The dialog with new characters is natural place for backstories to occur. It gives the writer a chance to explicitly tell the reader key parts of the story.

Scene Two: “Wolves?” Maryssa squeaked. Fitzgerald knew they were more than feral animals, but he wasn’t sure what more. As if exhaling, its limbs elongated. Grey fur became toned flesh. A naked man now crouched in place of the wolf. He stood confidently in front of Fitzgerald and met his salutation. “Greetings in return, I have never met a polite bloodsucker before. This is a novelty.”

When I outline, it is to help me actually finish a story. I love starting stories, but complete very few. My outline is a list of the remaining scenes. Under each scene I write either what the character is feeling or what I hope to accomplish with the scene. That reminds me why the scene is important and mood when I write it. The outline now is both guide and checklist. I have a strong foundation in the story to direct my decisions on how it should end. The characters aren’t a generic hero or heroine. I understand who they are and what they are capable of physically, emotionally and morally. With this type of outline, the action becomes more organic. It is more believable because the reader and writer arrive by the same method. They come to the conclusion through the story.

Scene Three: He was mesmerized by Beo standing like a warrior goddess before mortals. Her skin, always subtly luminous, shone brighter. The intensity increased a thousand-fold. Suddenly he understood her warning.


2 comments on “Outline @ The End

  1. I love your blog posts, they are incredibly insightful and sagacious. I do indeed love to see them appear in my inbox! Ahhh, if only there were more bloggers like you who were willing to open up their writing experience. Other than the troop of merry writers over on Limebird Writers that is. It is wonderful.

    I like how you describe people and places. That’s what captures me as a reader. You evoke such a tactile world that it is almost impossible for the reader not to reach out with their mind and touch a fabric or furnishing.

    As for outlining a plot… I try that and then sometimes impatience gets the better of me, alas and then I always end up suffering for it later. I wish so many times that I had outlined the plot in a more detailed and refined way all the way through to the end, so I had a course plotted that I could fan out with other bits and bobs of the plot and description. I’m having that problem now with my novel. Such a pain. I love and adore my two protagonists. I know what they look and sound like. I know their lives, names and habits. I know their drives. Do I know what the heck to do with them? No. It is a complete pain in the backside I can tell you.

    Anyhoo, ruddy marvellous! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your kind comment. I know you will give your characters the wonderful story they deserve.

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