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kmb501
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25 Nov 2022, 11:16 pm

This is probably the third year in a row I've failed to create a full work for NaNoWriMo, and I'd like to fix this. I just can't outline, though. I'm a "discovery writer," so it's normal for me to draft as I plan. This is okay for shorter works, but I find that with longer works, I usually need an outline unless I know the story template by heart, like some romances and fanfiction. Do you have any advice? I've read a few things, like the Snowflake Method, the three-act structure, scenes and sequels, and things like that. I'm currently reading a Save the Cat book.

I don't know what the disconnect is, but for some reason my brain just can't seem to interpret things like "rising action" well enough to apply it to a part of the story I'm planning. In this example, I know what the rising action is, but I can't give a concrete example or apply it to my story, for some reason. This is why most outlining templates just don't work for me, I guess. I always need concrete examples before I can follow templates like that.



ToughDiamond
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08 Dec 2022, 5:24 pm

Don't know, I'm poor at creating overviews. With the only book I ever tried to write, I just started at the beginning and kept writing in detail. I had very little idea about the plot till I got there and had to think of something. I made a "concept album" of music where I had more idea of the big picture, but that was based on Alice In Wonderland so the book gave me a ready-made overview. For other "albums" I've made, I've just thought of and recorded one song at a time so they're more like collections of singles than "real" albums. I seem to be happier not knowing where I'm going, the idea of making a longterm plan and having to stick to it makes me feel restricted. I can step back and look at the big picture if it already exists, when I make a conscious effort to do that, but I don't seem able to create a big picture. If I had to do that for a non-fiction thing, such as an essay, I'd probably try to figure out in a few words what I was trying to say, and then try to work to that.



Minder
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08 Dec 2022, 5:31 pm

kmb501 wrote:
This is probably the third year in a row I've failed to create a full work for NaNoWriMo, and I'd like to fix this. I just can't outline, though. I'm a "discovery writer," so it's normal for me to draft as I plan. This is okay for shorter works, but I find that with longer works, I usually need an outline unless I know the story template by heart, like some romances and fanfiction. Do you have any advice? I've read a few things, like the Snowflake Method, the three-act structure, scenes and sequels, and things like that. I'm currently reading a Save the Cat book.

I don't know what the disconnect is, but for some reason my brain just can't seem to interpret things like "rising action" well enough to apply it to a part of the story I'm planning. In this example, I know what the rising action is, but I can't give a concrete example or apply it to my story, for some reason. This is why most outlining templates just don't work for me, I guess. I always need concrete examples before I can follow templates like that.


Just chiming in to say that I've never been able to put an outline together either. Doing it always feels weirdly artificial to me. When I write something, I usually have a general idea of how the plot will fit together, but I have to figure out a lot of the details as I go. Fortunately, I no longer write myself into a corner very often. Probably because of practice.



DanielW
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08 Dec 2022, 5:47 pm

I've successfully done NanoWriMo 4 times, and The only reason I managed to finish with 60-70k words in a month was by NOT outlining. The first time I didn't have a character or a definite story idea, I just started with an opening line and went where it took me.

I can't outline what I don't know. With the Snowflake Method and even "save the cat" the outlining comes much easier after the stream of consciousness draft. Its that draft that hints at the storyline for me.

The goal for nanowrimo it the word count - don't start organizing and (worse yet- revising), what you haven't written. There just isn't time.