Following Oracular #3: Outlines! Yay Outlines!

Outlines!  Exciting, terrific, amazing outlines!Oracularthingy

…they were awful.

”It was mostly Tiri’s fault,” Cimizelle says.

“No, Kalvias was problematic, too.”

Kalvias looks sheepish.

I think it was everyone’s fault.

I wrote at least four outlines before I got something good out of it.

The first one all happened on note cards which I spread across my bedroom floor.  I would share pictures, but I can’t seem to find any.

After I finished that, then I realized the story was way too short and I needed to expand on it.  So I added more notecards.

And then—it was perfect! Beautiful!

I started typing it into Scrivener’s corkboard.  Going very well, very well, and then… something wasn’t right.

I mean, it was an okay outline. But it wasn’t quite the story that I wanted to tell. Things were off.

Okay, so, take three.  I started again.  Almost immediately, things were wrong again, although I don’t quote remember why.

Eventually, I got frustrated and gave up.  (I wrote other stuff. I started writing an old novel in poetry form. Very…interesting.)

So then one day, I thought, I need to just get this done and over with.

So I sat down and I just started writing the sloppiest, most not-working outline possible. Took me…eh, a few hours? Mostly one sitting.

Yay! Got one finished!

No. Not yay.

Turns out, I had a bunch of characters… uh, well.  For example, Kalvias travelled from one location to another in two days, when it should have taken him two weeks.

”I secretly had a train,” Kalvias says.

Ereinne looks puzzled. “Trains don’t exist in our world yet, though.”

“That’s the point.”

Meriela also fell in love with a guy two days after meeting him. Despite that he’s a very three-dimensional guy and after two days, he was really not a great person and not someone to fall in love with.

Meriela looks sheepish. “I’m just hopeless. We all know that.”

“Yup,” Tiri agrees. “You’re definitely hopeless.”

Raethl looks like he might be blushing, but he says nothing.

There were other problems, too, though.  But basically everything was on too tiny of a timeline and it was all happening at super speed.

So then I had to figure out how to slow it down. Especially when I have a character who spends quite a while just sitting there doing nothing.

Everyone looks accusingly at Tiri.

Tiri shrugs. “Not my fault. The Guardians gave me meaningless tasks.”

So then was… we’ll call it Attempt #17 because I’ve honestly lost track.  I sat down with my white board and started going through one character’s storyline at a time, trying to make it longer, but also figure out exactly how much time passed with each action, so I could create not just an outline but a timeline.

It was.







Yeah, I made it through a handful of Meriela’s chapters, like three of Tiri’s, and gave up.

Now onto attempt #43!  (Well, after an extended break created from frustration and a totally-healthy dose of discouragement.)

I decided to stop figuring out their storylines and character arcs individually, but just figure it out beginning to end, like one would reading the story.  That way, I didn’t have characters in two places or some such thing when I wove the whole thing together.  I wrote it on my whiteboard in blue marker (and this time I have pictures! With spoilers removed, obviously), and when the whiteboard got full, I transferred it to a Scrivener file, and kept going until I hit The End.

You’re expecting this to keep going, aren’t you? Well, fortunately, the story ends here.  (Ha, get it? Get it?)

Cimizelle facepalms.  Someone else groans.

Ahem. I mean, yeah, so far that’s the most recent outline.  It’s not perfect, and in fact, in a lot of places, it’s very vague.  Chapter seven or something is just “Kalvias and Cim escape” and that’s all.

Very helpful notes, past-self. Thanks.

But it’s something that I can actually use to start writing.

The story is much larger. Draft two, which was roughly 110k, had just over 40 chapters.  This final (?) outline for draft three has about 70 chapters instead.

A larger story? Maybe.

The amazing thing about draft three is—it has a plot!

”Yeah,” Ereinne says. “Morgan has a lot of fun doing horrible things to us.”

Tiri snorts. “You have, what, one horrible thing?”

“I can think of at least half a dozen,” Ereinne says. “What horrible things happen to you? You’re Chosen!”

“Both of you, this isn’t a who-has-it-worse competition,” Raethl interrupts. “I would win it anyway.”

Tiri laughs. “No, you do it all to yourself. Morgan just laughs evilly and lets you do it.”

…no response, guys. No response.

Anyway, so how about you all?  Any horrific outlining experiences?  Or any tips for organizing/using your outlines once you have them?


2 thoughts on “Following Oracular #3: Outlines! Yay Outlines!

  1. I haven’t outlined a ton, but when I did last year, it went pretty smoothly. And so now I’m a confirmed plotter over pantser. *nods* But yes, outlining horrors I have had. I’m pretty convinced I’m living in one now … *glares at crazy outline sprawling all over several notebooks and not completed in any of them*


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