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Outlining as an aspie

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Outlining as an aspie

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  • #54578
    Aimie
    @ajaj2000

    Hey everyone I need some help

    I have been trying to outline using K.M Weiland’s method but have come across a problem I’m not sure about. I’m wondering if it has to do with being born with high functioning autism. So does anyone know or is an aspie that could give me tips on outlining?

    #54615
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    I’ve never been diagnosed with ASD but what’s your issue? I just finished reading Weiland’s structure and plotting books and would be happy to talk about them.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #54877
    Aimie
    @ajaj2000

    @taylorclogston

    Oh that’s cool 🙂

    I’m not sure if this is the block but I do have a question. On Weiland’s website she has a post at the end of her “How to outline your novel” series and I was wondering if I missed where she explained how to outline the overarching story of a series while still only outlining one book at a time?

    How to Outline a Series of Bestselling Books

    Sorry if you haven’t seen this before I just don’t remember if it was in the book or not.

    #54887
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    I don’t remember seeing that article in the book, and wow, that’s a pretty poorly organized article! So many subheadings that don’t actually give you a feeling of what you’re going to be reading in the next section…

    Sorry if this isn’t actually answering your question. She seems to have a few main points:

    • Know the overall story before you begin – If you have no idea what is going to happen after book one, you can’t effectively structure a series. I know a lot of authors who write a whole series before publishing any of it so they know they have this right.
    • Each book needs to be a whole story – Don’t put a cliffhanger that doesn’t actually resolve that book’s plot. If a series is about a prince returning home to take the throne, book one might involve him being betrayed by his aunt, defeating her, and realizing he has a lot to do. A bad cliffhanger would not resolve the problem with his aunt and instead finish it in book two or later.
    • The protagonist etc. need to continued to grow throughout the whole story – Your protagonist’s big flaw needs to be addressed through each book but cannot be fixed until the climax of the last book, which will also serve as the climax of the whole series. Maybe our prince above believes he should be king because he deserves the power. Throughout the whole series people will try to convince him otherwise, but not until the conflict of the whole series will he realize the error of his ways. The same goes for the overall plot goal. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn is famous for subverting this when it was released: A ton of series before him were about rebellious heroes overthrowing the dark lord, and we all assumed it would be the same in Mistborn. Instead, they overthrew the dark lord in book one, and the actual plot was revealed to be “how do we rule this empire better than the dark lord did.” If you solve the big question in book one, it needs to immediately give rise to a bigger but still appropriate question.
    • The series makes up a big story with the basic storytelling elements – The simplest example is a trilogy, in which books one through three serve as the beginning, middle, and end of the story. In the middle of the middle book there needs to be a clear turning point for the protagonist across the whole series, just like in a single story. Weiland says doing this properly requires intuition to “feel” how best to structure a story over a series.
    • Foreshadow everything – If something is important in a later book, it needs to be introduced in an earlier book, ideally at the beginning.
    • Raise questions at the end of each book – Leave the reader wondering how the events of each book will affect the story in the next book, just make sure your “cliffhangers” don’t involve leaving the individual book’s plot unfinished.

    If by “only outlining one book at a time” you mean “not considering later books,” I don’t thinks she addresses this. I think either we have to make use of random bits of things in earlier books to foreshadow for the future (we limit ourselves to not introducing things in later books out of the blue) and we rely on intuition to structure on the fly (something I know for sure I can’t do), or we do the whole series at once and plant foreshadowing in previous books when we need it.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #55429
    Aimie
    @ajaj2000

    @taylorclogston

    Thank you 🙂

    I appreciate your help 🙂

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