How To Work With An Outline, For A Fiction Story

I guess I am assuming you are a planner, like me.

Outlines are they way I organize and structure my fiction writing. Outlines could also work in a real world application too.

  • Porma goes to the store.
  • Dinner scene with steak and potatoes.
  • Iteni stays up really late.
  • Watch news at night.

A simple list of scenes or tasks, right? Well this works OK for like short stories. For longer papers or works, this can get a bit sluggish, because there are 50 or 100 items to do. So lately I have been working on scene combos instead, combining several individual lines together to make formal scenes or groups of tasks…to occur all in succession.

Let’s look at it again.

  • Porma goes to the store, where he picks up steak and potatoes, in the afternoon.
  • Dinner scene with steak and potatoes.
  • Watch TV/news after dinner, until really late.
  • Discuss the news as they watch it.

So four separate and distinctive scenes becomes a flowing series or group of connected events. Why do this? Because the flow is much smoother and the writer doesn’t have to make four individual scenes and then stitch each scene together. These events already all link together like a combo meal from a restaurant. Each scene relates to or complements the other scenes in the group.

This reeeeeaaaalllly helps for big, long stories with big, long outlines. It’s like meal prepping or batch prepping, or when you drive to the gym but stop for gas since its along the way. This is probably how formal storyboarding works anyways. Give it a try next time you are staring at your outline!

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