marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,


Plowing along in an outline sometimes leads to -- nowhere, actually.  Plot peters out.  The characters just sit there.  Not because I haven't got ideas and just have to grab one and decide where it goes, but because it's out of ideas, or those that I have really do need set-up to get anywhere, and I have no idea what the set-up could be.

Well, that was one reason why I started to outline -- half-finished outlines are better than half-finished stories -- but finished outlines and ensuing finished stories are even better.

And one technique to get the story going is to flip something around the other way.  The character introduced to provide valuable information and fix problems?  Make him a villain.  The two heroes who were traveling together?  Have them quarrel and go their separate ways.  The hero was going to use X to fix the problem when he got there?  Have it break.

It not only inspires, it often introduces irony, since you had it going the other way before you flipped it about.  (Though it's a lot easily in any outline, which is already sketchy, than in a story, where you doubtless will have to go back and flip some things and add others to make it plausible.  But that's another advantage to outlining.)
Tags: inspiration, irony, middles, outlining, persistance

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