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33

Fix it now. If you realize you made a mistake, go back and fix it now. Not, I stress, because the last 20K would be "wasted," because no writing is wasted, but because it's clearly blocking you and you don't want to write it. Carve off whatever pieces aren't going to fit and put them in a slush file. I like this method because it feels less painful than ...


28

I am a discovery writer, I have been for many years, and I complete stories. Scrap your outline. Most discovery writers (including me) have struggled with what you are talking about; finding the climax, resolving the character arcs, dead-end "mysteries" that we could never figure out. The solution to that is simple, but it is NOT outlining. For a ...


15

(I think you know what you have to do ... It hurts, but do it.) Here's the format I would follow to cut darlings in your situation. I'll assume you are writing a novel, some sort of fiction. Do you have a main character? (Or do you have an ensemble cast.) I'll assume one main character. If you have a main character, is there a single 'high stakes' idea ...


12

If you can't boil down your novel into a logline (or "elevator pitch," which is how I learned it), then you may actually have a problem with your novel. You've provided the structure of your answer in your own question. An elevator pitch must have: the protagonist the goal of the protagonist the antagonist the stakes of failure So pick those out of your ...


11

The only way to resolve it is to write. I'm a discovery writer too. I get excitement from just "imagining" how things could go, how the world might be, and how the character should react. Did you notice? I used verbs in conditional form. That's because - no matter what your brain tells you - a story isn't done until you write it. It doesn't matter if you ...


10

I'd like to add to Lauren's answer: whenever you realise that the story has problems, whether it's in the plotting, character development, or whatever; whenever you realise there is a problem, go back and fix it now for several reasons: as you write, you are exploring possibilities but, in this case, you are exploring bad possibilities (and you already know ...


8

Your brain is convinced it's done with the first draft, which means it's time to start the second draft on the story cleaning up everything and filling up any missing details as needed. Which is a new task and one that you have to do regardless of how complete the first draft is. Yours just happens to be pretty barebones in the second half, but that's ok, ...


7

Some say you should stop writing this story altogether. Others that you have to fix what is wrong or finish it first. These might all be valid options. But from what I hear, 'fixing' this story is pretty much the equivalent of writing a new one. Might I suggest considering this story you have written some research material into your setting and events? And ...


7

Personally, an outline is the bare bones gist of my story as originally conceived that I then, more or less, stick to as I write the story to stay on track. It lacks depth and emotion as I purposefully don't give it control of my story. But in my head I have whole worlds of ideas about the characters and the story line. As I write, the characters develop, ...


7

There are many ways of outlining. Here's a suggestion for those who have 'outline allergies'. Write the first chapter (or the first two). This will get you inside the skin of the characters and will get you excited. Now, pause and make a list of the main things you want to happen. Don't be detailed, but feel free to add a few details if they come to you. ...


7

Try breaking your outline into chunks, and write small novelettes for them. At the moment, you "feel like [you] have already completed the task" - you look at the skeleton in place, and think "that looks the right shape". There's nothing wrong with that. But, if you look at the outline from a different angle, you have actually turned 1 task (write a story)...


7

There are two kinds of discovery, not one! I am a outliner, not a pantser. I am also a plot-driven, not a character-driven writer. I love outlining, but always the finished product has huge departures from the outline. What I outline is plot, with very little character work. The plot is my creativity set free to do what comes easily: creating worlds and ...


6

EDIT (16 Oct 2017): A lot has changed in the last 3 years. Plotist now offers worldbuilding and writing tools, including a timeline and an outliner to help organize the writing, and it supports real-time collaboration so you can work with others creating your world and stories. We now offer Plotist as a subscription service, but we still have a free ...


6

It all depends on what you want on those cards. Since I tend to worry about the details of a scenario when I'm writing it specifically, I tend to be pretty rough when I plan like this, but I recommend four basic elements be on all of your notecards: What characters are there. Why they're there. What happens to them. How this affects the characters and the ...


5

To answer the question in your title: yes! The question that I don't see asked is how long is your essay supposed to be? Is there a word limitation or expectation? If so, then that will influence the length of your essay and help dictate how much you need in your outline. As for the outline itself, I believe you have a very good working start. I like the ...


5

A and B meet. A and B fall in love. Optional: A and B enjoy snugglebunnies. Obstacle gets between A and B. A and/or B overcome obstacle. Omnia vincit amor. (since it was requested that I turn this into an answer)


5

There is no one answer to this because everyone writes differently. Some people have to outline every beat in every scene; some are complete pantsers. Every book is different too; some stories need a lot of outlining and some fall into place with broad strokes. Move forward, and if you're finding yourself bogged down or meandering, back up and try some ...


5

I will assume you know how to generate twists. But I want to offer a particular technique so I can refer to it later. Wilhelm’s Law: Throw away your first three ideas. This comes from SF/mystery writer and editor Kate Wilhelm. The thinking behind Wilhelm’s Law is this: Your first idea will be obvious to most readers. Your second will be less obvious, but ...


5

I believe some things that can help are: Focus On Scenes Stories are really scenes played out in front of the reader. This is really the show, don't tell axiom. What Is Your Point? I'm sure you have a point (theme) so go ahead and summarize that point. Maybe something like: crime doesn't pay people who own cats are the best people shoes are an example ...


5

Having been in this situation a few times, what I have done is gone back to the start and begun again, not throwing out everything I have written already, but learning from what I realised works and doesn't work. For example, in one story I changed the gender of a main character, which was very significant. In a play, I changed the number of characters. ...


5

Painful as it is, circumstances like this can warrant writing an entirely new draft from scratch. Your memories of the characters and plot points from the current draft would inform you in such an effort, but you're liable to produce a "greatest hits" rewrite in which those minor characters you like become more major characters. I had to do this once ...


5

Yes, you should be able to 'feel' your outline. I admit I don't really outline in writing, although I do have well defined characters and a problem in my head before I begin writing, and I do feel the emotions of my characters in scenes before I write them. I think if your goal is to evoke emotions, you should really be outlining the emotional journey of ...


5

This answer is current as of Scrivener 3 You have a couple of options/features to view your outline: 1. Outline View While selecting a folder or a text file in the binder, go to view → outline. On MacOS this is simply achieved by pressing ⌘ + 3. Here is a snapshot I created using a template: 2. Table Of Content If what you are looking for is more ...


5

It depends on you. Until I joined this site, I didn’t know the term, but I have been a discovery writer for many years. Anytime I try planning a book, my characters run away with it and make it more interesting. I start with a character, get to know him or her well and then start placing my creation in situations. How will X respond? X does something and I ...


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