Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Organizing Your Story

I've been thinking lately about organizing my drawers, closets, garage, and maybe even my desk. I've even got two magnetic dry erase chore charts all filled out on the fridge for my oldest girls. I know, I'm getting a little giddy from this sudden burst of organization. Which got me to thinking about my writing. I've been dusting off all my old papers and books that have been sitting on my shelf for the last two years. I'm still getting back into the swing of things after my little sabbatical/pregnancy leave.

I found a neat outline in my notes, that helps you to organize your writing. I was always hesitant to fill it out because my plot sometimes took unexpected turns. But my writing friends said, "Just fill it out. Write it in pencil and you can always go back and change things". So I have. It is a great way to get your thoughts and ideas organized. This outline basically gives an overview of your plot and characters. On Thursday I'll share how I get to know my characters.

Story Element********** *Hero *******************Heroine


Goal: what does the
character want?

Internal Conflict (emotional
baggage; the basis of the character

Why do they have these goals?
Or why do they have these
internal conflicts?

External Conflict?
What is the plot?

Inciting Incident

1st turning point


3rd turning point




This little form helps me to get started on my story and really ask myself the questions that need to be answered in the book.

So what about you, do you have a favorite way to organize your story? I'd love to hear how everyone goes about planning their plots.


Warren Baldwin said...

I write short pieces, not long, so I can keep the idea in my mind. I am amazed at and don't understand how some of you writers can have a whole novel in your head. That is a different kind of thinking from what I do.

Terri Tiffany said...

Very good! I wish I could organize that way. WIth short stories--it's all in my head. With a book, this time I did a short outline for chapters but nothing so clear as this. SO I guess I wing it and then edit and edit some more.

Kara said...

Warren, I never thought I could write a novel because it seemed so overwhelming, but it is amazing how outlines like this help to bring it all together.

Terri, I like chapter outlines too. It helps with the flow. I do a lot of winging it too though:)

Jody Hedlund said...

I love your simple outline of this! thanks for sharing it; I jotted it down onto a notecard. I've read James Scott Bell's book about plotting and structure and he offers a very similar way of looking at plotting which I've tried to incorporate.

Kara said...

Maybe I need to get that book Jody. I'm always open to help with plotting and structure.