Jump to content
Blue Minnow

My First Question...

Recommended Posts

I have to admit that I haven't been outlining my short story plots, and writing down the themes ahead of time before writing and completing most of my first drafts. I don't know if that habit is something I'll regret later. The thing is, it's very hard for me to think plainly about the stories in general without worrying if their plots are truly going to unfold into the themes.

 

There are some first drafts that I'm happy with, and I feel like through these stories I was mostly saying what I was trying to say. That's especially true for one specific story that really struck a chord for me when I reached the end. But there are others where the message seems to just come right out of the blue -- like I was telling instead of showing, or just didn't know the right words to use.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: when it comes to trying to understand the connection between my stories' themes and plots, would outlining the plot and prewriting the theme make it easier, or harder to understand what I'm trying to say? To sum this question up even more, should I outline, or not? Has anyone else ever struggled with this? Speaking of not always knowing the right words to use, sorry if this post was ever confusing at times. If anyone has any advice for me, I'd really appreciate it. :)

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have to admit that I haven't been outlining my short story plots, and writing down the themes ahead of time before writing and completing most of my first drafts. I don't know if that habit is something I'll regret later.

 

Blue, this is almost entirely a personal thing. Some writers are methodical. They outline, plots and themes etc. Others are not. Stephen King (by his own admission) rarely plots anything. He simply starts with an interesting situation and tries to write characters true to that situation. C.S. Lewis said that his Narnia stories started with pictures. From the age of 16 he had an image of a Fawn with an umbrella and at 40 or so he wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Short answer - do what works for you. You said, "There are some first drafts that I'm happy with, and I feel like through these stories I was mostly saying what I was trying to say." That sound like it is working. Just keep writing and the process will work itself out for you.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Blue, this is almost entirely a personal thing. Some writers are methodical. They outline, plots and themes etc. Others are not. Stephen King (by his own admission) rarely plots anything. He simply starts with an interesting situation and tries to write characters true to that situation. C.S. Lewis said that his Narnia stories started with pictures. From the age of 16 he had an image of a Fawn with an umbrella and at 40 or so he wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Short answer - do what works for you. You said, "There are some first drafts that I'm happy with, and I feel like through these stories I was mostly saying what I was trying to say." That sound like it is working. Just keep writing and the process will work itself out for you.

 

Thank you, RADerdeyn! :) I will keep working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to a conference workshop discussing this issue. There were supposed to be representatives for both methods. But all four panelists sided with flying by the seat of their pants.

They also introduced me to the term 'quilters' which I have adopted. We write wildly in all directions without an outline, without a clue what it going to come out the end of our pen (fingertips). Then we look it all over and quilt it together.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For simple plots, you can write without an outline. But for complex plots, you may need an outline (or write a guideline of some kind) to keep your plot straight. It can cut down on editing later.

 

Some people write without an outline. Some people write an outline first.

 

Personally, I like to think of the structure of the environment, and how a character has to move through that environment to accomplish a goal. That way, I can write the environment and keep it as 'set pieces.'

 

That's kinda how we move through real life. If you want to go to the mall, there are sidewalks, streets, traffic lights, and rules that govern them all. In the mall, there are shops, security cameras, price tags, etc. They are all parts of social and legal structures that shape the environment that a character moves through.

 

Once I know what the character wants, and what environment the character has to go through to get it, sometimes the environment becomes enough of an outline (because the character has to navigate through the environment).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


About Us

ChristianWriters.com is a friendly community of writers, readers, publishers, and other literary professionals who share a love for the written word and salvation through Jesus Christ.

 

Follow us

CW on Facebook

Recent Tweets

×