Browsed by
Tag: #Outlining

How to Get From Worldbuilding (or Research) to Story

How to Get From Worldbuilding (or Research) to Story

Golden Falcon
How do you get from the cool world you just built — or researched — to an actual story?… Let’s imagine a knight on a revenge quest.

Worldbuilding is a thing.

People build Fantasy worlds for fun.

They’ve pretty much always done it, either collectively — like the storytellers who built Greek mythology and or theologians who created the medieval vision of Hell — or individually, like the quirky medieval mapmakers and of course Tolkien, and every modern GM who spends more time creating their world than playing in it, and every wannabe Fantasy author who loses themselves in the act of creation.

For a fictional world to live, however, somebody has to tramp its surface.

We need a Homer to dump Odysseus  on the Island of the Cyclops, Dante to have Virgil lead him through the Circles of Hell, and “John Mandeville” — whoever he really was — to take us to the Land of Prester John. Meanwhile, Tolkien must stop building and start writing, the GM has to assemble their players, and the modern wannabe Fantasy author has to…

Ah. That’s the thing.

Once upon a time, you could just take your hero from A to B to C, picking up plot tokens or even just getting closer to the goal while having quirky adventures on the way. We now expect a little more from our authors.

How do you get from the cool world you just built — or researched — to an actual story?

Read More Read More

Quick and Dirty Outlining for NaNoWriMo

Quick and Dirty Outlining for NaNoWriMo

In a retro SF setting, Derick and Tina are freelance archaeologists. He’s a veteran soldier but she’s a poor little rich girl who thinks it’s all an adventure…

(I was going to blog about stuff related to Swords Versus Tanks (so about swords and tanks, mostly) but I’m busy editing Episode 3 (“Pyramid of Blood”) and NaNoWriMo is here…)

The writing process is always a cycle of trial and error, call it “create and tinker.” Humans are better at problem solving than inventing in a vacuum. No surprise, then, that the real story building usually happens in the tinker phase. Unfortunately, most new thoughts apply to characters and plot, e.g. we look at the scene we just wrote and realize it would be better with ninjas, and if the main character lacked her right foot. Sure we can write the rest of the book as if that were now true, but as the changes accrue, most of our first draft becomes condemned, which seems… inefficient. This is why I like outlining.

Now I think the optimum outlining system helps you engage with different levels of your story, hence my book Storyteller Tools: Outline from vision to finished novel without losing the magic. Alas, since NaNoWriMo is now on us, you’re probably feeling too twitchy to read it or anything like it!

So, here instead is a hacked-down approach that should still help…

First, Review Your Objectives

Your aim is to produce a 50,000 word novel in a month. Allowing an average of 5K words a chapter, that means a mere 10 chapters. Each chapter comprises 1 big scene or 2 regular scenes.

Read More Read More