Steps to a Story: Outline

Thank you to those who voted on my Steps to a Story intro poll.  It seems to be split – two want me to take on the challenge of a male perspective with my new short story for Serial Central, and my mom voted three times for the Butterflies sequel.  🙂 

I’ve decided that I’m going to need to write two things at once anyway, since I have to write the serial and I need to get started on another novel.  Writing two stories that take place in the same world, with the same rules, makes the most sense to me, so everyone who voted gets their way!

The first step I took tonight is one that I don’t usually do, but seemed necessary considering I will be juggling two stories at once (and I didn’t want to lose the third completely).  I outlined all three stories to the extent that they currently exist in my head.  This also required some data collection from existing documents, which I will explain in a bit.

The story that is going to be shelved had some existing outlining done in several documents, as well as one very hard to read training outline scribbled in my notebook.  These I streamlined, detailed a bit (for future Leigh), and saved.  Dragon story: shelved for the moment, in the best condition possible for later use.

The sequel had only one sheet of notes in one of my writing notebooks, labelled “Sequel Thoughts.”  These ideas have grown since, so I put them into a computer document that I can access later.  The outline is very rough, consisting only of an overarching plot idea and several sub-plots.  I know a little more than I wrote, mostly a couple of scenes that are rolling around in my head, but since this is a project I am planning to actively work on, the details seemed a little less needed.  Butterflies 2: rough plot ideas outlined.

The third story, the serial short story, is a pseudo-prequel.  I think that’s the best term for it; unlike Burden or even Bonded, the actual plot of the new story doesn’t directly impact the plot of Butterflies (other than the need for the main character to be in a position to father one of the main characters of the novel).  However, it is the back story of someone who plays a role in Butterflies, so I do have some preconceived notions of the story.  For this pseudo-prequel, I went through all of the sections of Butterflies where he appears or is discussed and made notes about what I already know about his story.  I also returned to the first draft of the novel – I streamlined my first few chapters in the second draft and some of Matthew’s story had been cut.  Going back allowed me to remember what I had originally created for this character; even though it is not in the current version of the novel, it did impact how I wrote his character, so it is relevant.  Plus, why re-create something if it already exists?  Short story: briefly outlined.

So tonight’s writing session was more a fact-finding, drafting session and not so much a creative session.  It was needed, though, and now I’m ready to start writing!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Steps to a Story: More Research « Butterflies and Dragons

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