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This is the question I have asked four and a half years ago. After trying both dedicated outliners and outlining in Scrivener, I find Excel (or in my case, Numbers) is the ideal tool for me.

My process is as follows:

  1. I collect ideas. These can be characters, situations, settings, images, songs, etc. Anything that for me has to do with my story.

    I note down ideas into a paper notebook I carry with my all the time. Before the next step, I transfer them all into a text file on my computer. Paper snippets (e.g. from newspapers) go into a paper folder. Image files, video, etc. go in a folder on my hard drive.

  2. I take pencil and paper and roughly map out the story and/or character arcs or throughlines I want to narrate. These can be changes in relationships. Goals thwarted and achieved. Anything that changes in my story.

    These maps look like graphs of lines that cross over each other. Sort of like this, only more complex and with lots of annotations.

  3. I put the "points" of the arcs into Numbers/Excel/spreadsheet software. That is, I describe the state at the beginning in the first cell, what changes in the second, how it turns out in the third. And so on. The points don't yet neccessarily coincide with traditional plot points, but the longer I write, the more often they do. If I have parallel arcs, I put them in parallel columns and put them in whatever chronological relation they have to each other.

    Visually, this part looks a lot like Scrivener's outliner view. The best outliner, by the wayin my opinion, is the one in Patchwork, an Austrian writing software. I have reviewed Patchwork in this answer. The outliner in Patchwork is very much like a spreadsheet software with some very useful additional timeline functions and a great integration into all the other parts of the writing process. Patchwork is the most versatile writing software I have seen, but also the ugliest and felt too bloated to me, especially since I do the idea collection and graphical story mapping on paper (a necessity for me). I write in Scrivener, which does thatthe writing part perfectly.

  4. I "flesh out" the spreadsheet, adding to it (or referencing) all the ideas and things I have collected in step one, adding connections between parallel storylines, coming up with transtions, and whatever else may be missing.

    After this step, all the cells in my outline contain a brief summary of a chapter (or scene).

  5. I write.

The way I do it, the outling feels much like discovery writing to me, except that I don't do the spelling out part of that. I explore my mental landscape and discover my story much in the same way that I did it through discovery writing. The only difference is that I'm not always working chronologically and that I don't immerse myself as deeply as I would while acutally "living" the story through discovery writing. Still, it's very much fun and satisfying to me and almost the best part in my writing process.

This is the best process for me to turn out a "functional" novel. But discovery writing is still better in how intense the writing process feels for me and how close to my heart the outcome is. Outline writing, for me, is more of a job kind of thing; discovery writing is like masturbation: satisfying but not to be done in public.

Sorry for the quick reply. Hope it makes sense to you.

This is the question I have asked four and a half years ago. After trying both dedicated outliners and outlining in Scrivener, I find Excel (or in my case, Numbers) is the ideal tool for me.

My process is as follows:

  1. I collect ideas. These can be characters, situations, settings, images, songs, etc. Anything that for me has to do with my story.

    I note down ideas into a paper notebook I carry with my all the time. Before the next step, I transfer them all into a text file on my computer. Paper snippets (e.g. from newspapers) go into a paper folder. Image files, video, etc. go in a folder on my hard drive.

  2. I take pencil and paper and roughly map out the story and/or character arcs or throughlines I want to narrate. These can be changes in relationships. Goals thwarted and achieved. Anything that changes in my story.

    These maps look like graphs of lines that cross over each other. Sort of like this, only more complex and with lots of annotations.

  3. I put the "points" of the arcs into Numbers/Excel/spreadsheet software. That is, I describe the state at the beginning in the first cell, what changes in the second, how it turns out in the third. And so on. The points don't yet neccessarily coincide with traditional plot points, but the longer I write, the more often they do. If I have parallel arcs, I put them in parallel columns and put them in whatever chronological relation they have to each other.

    Visually, this part looks a lot like Scrivener's outliner view. The best outliner, by the way, is the one in Patchwork, an Austrian writing software. I have reviewed Patchwork in this answer. The outliner in Patchwork is very much like a spreadsheet software with some very useful additional timeline functions and a great integration into all the other parts of the writing process. Patchwork is the most versatile writing software I have seen, but also the ugliest and felt too bloated to me, especially since I do the idea collection and graphical story mapping on paper (a necessity for me). I write in Scrivener, which does that part perfectly.

  4. I "flesh out" the spreadsheet, adding to it (or referencing) all the ideas and things I have collected in step one, adding connections between parallel storylines, coming up with transtions, and whatever else may be missing.

    After this step, all the cells in my outline contain a brief summary of a chapter (or scene).

  5. I write.

The way I do it, the outling feels much like discovery writing to me, except that I don't do the spelling out part of that. I explore my mental landscape and discover my story much in the same way that I did it through discovery writing. The only difference is that I'm not always working chronologically and that I don't immerse myself as deeply as I would while acutally "living" the story through discovery writing. Still, it's very much fun and satisfying to me and almost the best part in my writing process.

This is the best process for me to turn out a "functional" novel. But discovery writing is still better in how intense the writing process feels for me and how close to my heart the outcome is. Outline writing, for me, is more of a job kind of thing; discovery writing is like masturbation: satisfying but not to be done in public.

Sorry for the quick reply. Hope it makes sense to you.

This is the question I have asked four and a half years ago. After trying both dedicated outliners and outlining in Scrivener, I find Excel (or in my case, Numbers) is the ideal tool for me.

My process is as follows:

  1. I collect ideas. These can be characters, situations, settings, images, songs, etc. Anything that for me has to do with my story.

    I note down ideas into a paper notebook I carry with my all the time. Before the next step, I transfer them all into a text file on my computer. Paper snippets (e.g. from newspapers) go into a paper folder. Image files, video, etc. go in a folder on my hard drive.

  2. I take pencil and paper and roughly map out the story and/or character arcs or throughlines I want to narrate. These can be changes in relationships. Goals thwarted and achieved. Anything that changes in my story.

    These maps look like graphs of lines that cross over each other. Sort of like this, only more complex and with lots of annotations.

  3. I put the "points" of the arcs into Numbers/Excel/spreadsheet software. That is, I describe the state at the beginning in the first cell, what changes in the second, how it turns out in the third. And so on. The points don't yet neccessarily coincide with traditional plot points, but the longer I write, the more often they do. If I have parallel arcs, I put them in parallel columns and put them in whatever chronological relation they have to each other.

    Visually, this part looks a lot like Scrivener's outliner view. The best outliner, in my opinion, is the one in Patchwork, an Austrian writing software. I have reviewed Patchwork in this answer. The outliner in Patchwork is very much like a spreadsheet software with some very useful additional timeline functions and a great integration into all the other parts of the writing process. Patchwork is the most versatile writing software I have seen, but also the ugliest and felt too bloated to me, especially since I do the idea collection and graphical story mapping on paper (a necessity for me). I write in Scrivener, which does the writing part perfectly.

  4. I "flesh out" the spreadsheet, adding to it (or referencing) all the ideas and things I have collected in step one, adding connections between parallel storylines, coming up with transtions, and whatever else may be missing.

    After this step, all the cells in my outline contain a brief summary of a chapter (or scene).

  5. I write.

The way I do it, the outling feels much like discovery writing to me, except that I don't do the spelling out part of that. I explore my mental landscape and discover my story much in the same way that I did it through discovery writing. The only difference is that I'm not always working chronologically and that I don't immerse myself as deeply as I would while acutally "living" the story through discovery writing. Still, it's very much fun and satisfying to me and almost the best part in my writing process.

This is the best process for me to turn out a "functional" novel. But discovery writing is still better in how intense the writing process feels for me and how close to my heart the outcome is. Outline writing, for me, is more of a job kind of thing; discovery writing is like masturbation: satisfying but not to be done in public.

Sorry for the quick reply. Hope it makes sense to you.

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source | link

This is the question I have asked four and a half years ago. After trying both dedicated outliners and outlining in Scrivener, I find Excel (or in my case, Numbers) is the ideal tool for me.

My process is as follows:

  1. I collect ideas. These can be characters, situations, settings, images, songs, etc. Anything that for me has to do with my story.

    I note down ideas into a paper notebook I carry with my all the time. Before the next step, I transfer them all into a text file on my computer. Paper snippets (e.g. from newspapers) go into a paper folder. Image files, video, etc. go in a folder on my hard drive.

  2. I take pencil and paper and roughly map out the story and/or character arcs or throughlines I want to narrate. These can be changes in relationships. Goals thwarted and achieved. Anything that changes in my story.

    These maps look like graphs of lines that cross over each other. Sort of like this, only more complex and with lots of annotations.

  3. I put the "points" of the arcs into Numbers/Excel/spreadsheet software. That is, I describe the state at the beginning in the first cell, what changes in the second, how it turns out in the third. And so on. The points don't yet neccessarily coincide with traditional plot points, but the longer I write, the more often they do. If I have parallel arcs, I put them in parallel columns and put them in whatever chronological relation they have to each other.

    Visually, this part looks a lot like Scrivener's outliner view. The best outliner, by the way, is the one in Patchwork, an Austrian writing software. I have reviewed Patchwork in this answer. The outliner in Patchwork is very much like a spreadsheet software with some very useful additional timeline functions and a great integration into all the other parts of the writing process. Patchwork is the most versatile writing software I have seen, but also the ugliest and felt too bloated to me, especially since I do the idea collection and graphical story mapping on paper (a necessity for me). I write in Scrivener, which does that part perfectly.

  4. I "flesh out" the spreadsheet, adding to it (or referencing) all the ideas and things I have collected in step one, adding connections between parallel storylines, coming up with transtions, and whatever else may be missing.

    After this step, all the cells in my outline contain a brief summary of a chapter (or scene).

  5. I write.

The way I do it, the outling feels much like discovery writing to me, except that I don't do the spelling out part of that. I explore my mental landscape and discover my story much in the same way that I did it through discovery writing. The only difference is that I'm not always working chronologically and that I don't immerse myself as deeply as I would while acutally "living" the story through discovery writing. Still, it's very much fun and satisfying to me and almost the best part in my writing process.

This is the best process for me to turn out a "functional" novel. But discovery writing is still better in how intense the writing process feels for me and how close to my heart the outcome is. Outline writing, for me, is more of a job kind of thing; discovery writing is like masturbation: satisfying but not to be done in public.

Sorry for the quick reply. Hope it makes sense to you.