March 2, 2017

Writing #Tips Mapping out the story



 I don't know how other writers do but I like to have an outline of my story, first.  At least a brief one. In my opinion an outline, a map of the new project should focus on three major parts of the emerging book:
a) The beginning - where I include the exposition, that is:
-the background,
-the settings, and
- the routines of the main character(s).
As I need to hook your reader right away I avoid  starting the book with a  detailed description of the surroundings; that will bore the readers and make them put the book away. I either can do it by  dropping the reader into the page at a point of tension or  start with conflict. Hook them from the first lines with a strong opening action scene.
b) The middle - where  I think I must concentrate on how the character(s)
- overcome obstacles, or
- try to get something, or
- solve a problem.
Here is, in fact, the part of the story where the action is rising and reaches a climax.
c) The end - where I display how the character(s) find new ways or routines in their life and the resolution. It is the moment known as Denouement, the wrapping up of the story, similar to the epilogue in a movie.
The above document, very likely, won’t be more than a  couple of pages. Easy and neat.
If I want more meat on this skeleton frame, I may  try a chapter-by-chapter outline. It will mean visualizing the reader’s way through the novel.
.
What I should also keep in mind is to put the character(s) in threatening  situations. Danger and threat are what keep the readers turning the pages. Life and death are the stakes all the time. My characters must confront a death of some kind, either physical or psychical in the story.

 The goal of story coherence -- everything in the story working together for a profound overall effect-- is served when the plot events  are developed to bring the main character's  internal conflict to the surface.
Talk to me, please. I'd like to find out  how do you, fellow authors, do it?

13 comments:

  1. I make a storyboard using an app. It has index cards, sticky notes, and photos. I follow a three act structure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting to know. There are, I think a couple of programs useful for authors - like Scrivener or yWriter- but never tried any. I often think it distracts you for the writing proper. Yet, you must never say NEVER. Perhaps I will check yWriter.
      Thank you for sharing how you map your work!

      Delete
  2. Good post, Carmen.
    I start with a VERY loose outline and from there let my characters take the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are no strict rules, I am sure. And after all, we write as it feels easier to us.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brainstorm doodling is the first thing I do. Then I fill out character sheets, followed by structure sheets and beat sheets. I use WriteWay software for its storyboard and other amenities, but many times I still compose in Word and upload to WriteWay. Thanks for sharing your process!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Impressive, I must admit. after the outline I start filling the meat on the skeleton. But this idea, especially with beat sheets is useful. I noticed in your excerpts you are great in using them. Thanks for sharing. never heard of WriteWay. I have just downloaded yWriter and bounce around it to learn what it does.

      Delete
  5. Just stopped by to say enjoy your weekend, Carmen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you, Sandra! You are so thoughtful.
      The same wishes to you!

      Delete
  6. Doesn't it seem like the middle is always the most challenging? At least that's the case for me.
    Have a great day, Carmen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Sandra. We know how it starts, most often how it will end and the middle remains a mystery. But we always manege, don't we?

      Delete
  7. I'm always interested in how other writers work as well. I normally start with character worksheets that include backgrounds, conflicts and goals. Then I develop a loose plot, normally just the main obstacle my characters need to face or overcome, and then I start writing and see what happens. It's always an adventure, LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting to know. I always have in mind the loose plot, what I want from the story, and only then I deal with the characters.

      Delete