Lights and Shadows: Adventures in Outlining

Stories evolve…

Stories that are works in progress are subject to unexpected changes. That’s a fact of creative life. We work on a scene, we get new ideas, we try to put them in place and suddenly everything that comes after doesn’t have the same feel that it did beforehand.

So we make changes to the outline….and then more changes…and still more changes…

This was brought home to me while working on Lights and Shadows. I reached a point in the plot where the storyline appeared to be running out of steam. Pacing is important to a story’s flow, so I spent some extra time coming up with new ideas to jazz things up. However, as I started to put some new changes in place I realized that my original outline’s events made less and less sense after what I planned for Chapter 13 and beyond. This is where Plot Evolution came into play. Was the story moving away from my original vision or simply becoming a huge pain in the backside? Well, to be honest, the answer was almost yes to both unless I could modify the rest of my outline to accommodate the new ideas that I wanted to use. The great thing about writing is that you can change anything you want and any limitations that exist are the ones you place upon yourself and your story.

Thankfully, the changes that I ended up making to my outline ended up being small in nature and I could resume writing scenes and moving my plot forward. The plot is still following my original vision and though I’m a little behind (in my opinion), I’m still making progress.

What adventures in outlining have you encountered?

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2 thoughts on “Lights and Shadows: Adventures in Outlining

  1. I’m a pantser so I do very little outlining. I do take notes, of course, for consistency. I have had to go back and edit previous chapters because of a new idea. But eventually I get to a point where the story flows. Writing is a lot of work but most enjoyable.

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    • Pantsers and Plotters have more in common than many believe. I’d rather write than do most anything else. Yep, definitely a lot of work but very enjoyable and satisfying to see a vague idea take shape into a living breathing story. 🙂

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