Still being in the throes of a major revision, writing a new story is only taking place in my imagination for now. Having just taken Todd Mitchell's incredible plotting and story shaping class, I'm considering a change of approach for my next project.
So far my first drafts have spilled out onto paper or my computer screen, going this way and that as I scramble to keep up with a Hurry! Take this down! pace. I really love writing this way and am highly resistant to so much as the word 'outline.' I've learned a lot from many successful writers and know I have much more to learn. And, even though I know writers who plan their story to such an extreme that they never actually write a draft to the end, I know others who firmly believe a basic story 'blueprint' must be in place before building a novel's 'house.'
There are most likely as many methods to writing fiction as there are fiction writers. Here are some beginning approaches and composites of others to ponder:
- Write the ending first and work backwards.
- Create a story board of all the events.
- Make headings of Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3 and itemize significant scenes to list under each.
- Think of a character first and cause him or her a whole bunch of grief.
- Write the inciting incident that sets the character in motion and match it with the climax of the incident.
- List the main plot points of the story and chart them on a character arc or plot line. You can call it an outline, but I probably won't.
- Think of it as a math problem of sorts and ask yourself if action and reaction are balanced, if the 'answer' satisfies the equation you have spelled out.
- Or, of course, write the whole draft first and line it all up correctly when you're done.