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34

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 ...


19

Stop writing and put it in a drawer. Go write something else for a while. There is no point in continuing when you know, as you clearly do, that this story is off the rails. It is not going to yield either usable prose or usable insight. At the same time it is clear that you have not yet had the positive a-ha moment that reveals what the true story ...


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 ...


12

I'll first refer you to my answer to this question: https://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/24551/how-to-determine-whether-or-not-a-plot-twist-is-needed. Now I will point out an implication of that answer: a plot twist is a twist back to the story arc. In its essence, a plot twist occurs when a story that seemed to be going in one direction is suddenly ...


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 ...


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. ...


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 ...


4

There really is no convention for indicating the end of things in text. You are asking for a way to move up the hierarchy of the document without a title to indicate the change. There really isn't a reliable way to indicate that to a reader. Titles indicate the beginning of things not the end of things. What there is a convention for is creating a ...


4

I would describe it as a pendulum. Don't focus on the twist, so much as the build ; if something has to happen, hint at the opposite direction. Right before a major event, write as though your characters were entering a peaceful routine. If the resolution is coming, give every signal that everything is screwed. Underline bonds, friendship and ...


4

The way I'm structuring this is by giving each branch a collection of chapters that form into an arc before moving on to another branch. When outlining scenes, chapters, and arcs I explicitly write out what each are suppose to accomplish so I don't have fluff subplots, or character interactions that neither advance the story, nor advance a characterization. ...


4

If you have time, try reading Closing Time, Joseph Heller’s hardly-ever-heard-of sequel to Catch 22; not in any way to try to emulate it, but to see how little plot matters. Catch 22 itself showed that side-lines can be as gripping as any real plot, and Closing Time does the same in spades. At the end of the day, did the method you used for Book 1 work, or ...


4

The outline is simply said: Just a rough explanation, what the chapter/scene should achive. Personally, I use the outline to describe, what the chapter and the scenes should cover. It is the most basic part of the story, cause it just describes the key plot elements basically. As example: A rough outline for the finale would be: xy is going into the ...


4

I don't think the specifics matter that much, what you are looking for is dividing lines that can create conflict. In your example, say you decide the son doesn't want to work with his father. That alone creates a conflict, a potential rift between father and son. As for the rest of your questions, I would avoid "what if" questions per se, you need to ...


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