Continuing with story basics, today I'll talk about Outlining the PLOT
Sometimes a scene or a story comes into my mind almost
whole, so I just need to capture it quickly and write in down. But that’s only
More often I discover bits and pieces—character ideas, a
hint of a setting, possible problems. For me, this is a good time to do some
brainstorming. My best brainstorming happens when I let my mind wander. I take
my dog for a walk, or unload the dishwasher, or pull weeds in the garden. In
other words, I let my body do something so automatic that it doesn’t really
require my brain to be involved in the activity. This frees my brain to
wander—to explore the “if’s” and “or maybe’s.” All the possibilities.
After diving into the possibilities, I can usually begin to
sort them out. They fall into place—more or less. Then I sit down and do the
briefest outline—the taking aim. If it’s a short story, the outline is probably
no more than a few sentences—beginning, middle, and end. If it’s a novel, the
outline is by chapter—still only a sentence or two for each chapter. Any, or
all of this, could change—be totally rearranged, before the story becomes
whole. But by taking aim—lining up my shot—I know exactly where I’m trying to
go. I rarely become stuck—no writer’s block or running into a wall or lost
Of course, that doesn’t mean every attempt hits the mark.
But it generally comes close and makes the revising much easier.
So give it a
try. Next time before beginning your story, take aim. Who knows—you may hit a
hole in one on your first shot!
Labels: children as authors, outlines, plotting, writing, writing tips