July 21, 2011

The Problematic Outline

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 3:40 pm
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Writing classes are fun, and they give me input and (potential) new friends. That’s why I signed up for Concordia University’s class on novella writing. I’ve never been a big fan of the fiction novella. To me, it falls between two chairs: too long to be a short read, too short to be a novel. But I was interested to see what I’d get out of it, and since I’m almost unable to write shorter pieces, I hoped practice working with one main character and one main conflict could be good for me.

It has been good. I’ve gotten input on how to make my characters many-faceted, how to get out of a writer’s block and how to pinpoint the main conflict of a story. But then the teacher had us writing a complete outline for the story, including the resolution of the conflict. I’m trying to surrender to the process, but as soon as I completed my outline, I was stuck. For me, writing is a journey. I put my character in a difficult situation and let the story unfold as I write it. Knowing where it’s going makes me unable to get there.

What should I do? I have six days to complete a scene and I can’t get a word out. I know I should be able to use foreshadowing more efficiently when I know the outcome of a story, but where’s the fun in writing a mystery you’ve already solved? By giving away the ending, I’ve finished the story before I started it.

Do you write with outlines?


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