It’s official, I hate creating plot outlines, or well, maybe I just hate creating plots…
For the past couple of months I’ve been experimenting with writing different stories and I’ve discovered the hardest part for me is when I need to create the plot outline.
Most of my stories start with a basic idea and maybe a couple of scenes that I picture in my head. But that does not make a plot, let alone a good story (not trying to imply my stories are actually good ;-).
I’ve quickly found out that once a story becomes more than a single scene, I work better when I have an outline of the plot. So I try to define all the different scenes up front, write down in a sentence or two what they will be about, and put them in the chronological order. Let’s say I do that until I have about 75% of the entire story, the rest turns up while doing the writing.
But going from the basic idea and two or three initial scenes to an outline that covers that 75% is damn frustrating for me! I sit staring at the screen for hours on end, walking around bouncing a stress ball, trying to bend my mind around the entire thing. Yesterday I spent at least four hours like that, without any significant progress, even clearing my mind and doing something else didn’t really help much, argh!
Once I have the outline the writing itself usually goes pretty easy, it’s figuring out what to write that’s the hard part. But I have three episodes in my George Alpha series so far and having somewhat of an idea of the larger story arc is quite necessary, or I would get completely tangled up in my previous story choices.
Still, maybe I should try a different approach for a change. Just wing it. Start writing some scenes (I usually have at least one possible beginning in my head) and let a larger part of the plot evolve from there and retrofit everything once it becomes clearer… might be worth the experiment.