I am not your typical writer when it comes to outlines. I’m mostly a pantser. If I feel like I’ll forget a point or have other things to do, I’ll write out the outline for a story that comes to me. If I can work on it right away, I keep it active in my head looking very similar to the one I write down.
[About Cat Hartliebe] [Writer’s Stuff]
Rarely I have research to do before it even starts. Mostly it’s me choosing character names and a place for them to live. In fantasy world setting, I may not have more than the general area planned out when I start. In a real world setting I have to have a stronger understanding of where on the map, even if I only have a country.
Sometimes, I even write before any outline is started. Which ends up with an entrance of the characters in some way and then nothing. Without a plot they have no direction.
My outline itself is atypical, because it looks more like a summary you would send someone than something to note next point. The typical outline formats annoy me. I don’t need organization when I write. Organization slows me down when I have to throw out a complete idea as quickly as possible. If my outline is written as I go to remind myself of points that’s a bit different.
My typical outline looks like this: <This story came to me last night, so I write it out upon waking assuming I’ll forget it later.>
A hot spot soccer player injured himself before he could make his name known. Instead he bought a soccer minor league team which lead him to marrying one of the players. They were very much in love and after a few years of owning their team, they had a child.
The child grew up on nothing but soccer. He turned into a crazy player for his school years. When it came for college, he found out how much talent he lacked. All the hard work and knowledge in the world does not compared to someone who has talent and trains.
Two more children came and went through the system. Their daughter had some talent, but lacked the willpower of the first. The second son tried his best, but couldn’t even become a starter in high school.
Ten years pass them by. The ex hot spot soccer player finds himself with a losing team and a pregnant wife. So late in their life the child will have siblings who are adults.
With the increasing awareness of lack of talent, they do not drag their youngest daughter to the games or practices. They let her do what she wants to do: draw.
In middle school, she entered a drawing contest and succeeded in getting a notice. So by the time high school hit, she had an active entry set up. She hasn’t made a name for herself. During the summer before freshman year, her father received the notice of too much debt. If things do not turn around the team will have to be sold elsewhere.
High school is where the daughter realizes her love for the game of soccer after watching an older female play. Her first thought she fell in love with the girl. Her desire to draw the female in action is insane. After joining the team, she realizes it was not a love for her senior, but for soccer.
In this fiction/adventure/soccer/love story, you’ll meet a family crazy about soccer with the undercurrent of failure. The youngest daughter bringing in hope when everyone is faced with despair.
Possible names: ???
Research: about minor leagues for soccer; about middle/high school teams in country of desire; country with strong soccer connection (ie anywhere); types of injuries in soccer; ages when one can enter minor league; college teams in country of desire; drawing competitions in country of desire for ages middle school and up; drawing equipment (whatever she wants to use); major players in the majors within soccer;
Everything I need to get started is there. Although I need to research before starting because I know so little about soccer. <So little I’m surprised that was part of the story.> It allows me a good place to begin. I’d probably write up the hot spot’s injury and then gaining a team as chapter one which will end up being pulled from the book and offered free. Chapter two could be written from the mother’s perspective about joining the team and falling in love. still unsure if that little story will be happy or sad in the end. Then a chapter for the three older kids, possible one apiece. All five of those stories will probably be cut down to a few lines in the final, but I need to start there. It’s backstory I need. And the stories can be used for promoting this one. The first real chapter would be at the youngest daughter’s birth/infancy. The older children beg their parents not to drag her through the toils of soccer unless she wants to. This will give enough of a back story while giving a feel of comfort. The goal will be for the reader to want to protect the small child from the issues soccer has caused the family.
This is known before I even write the first sentence of the first draft. It’s been about an hour since the idea popped up in my head. If I didn’t have other things I should be working on, I would be writing this. <I may never get to this one. I have other outlines sitting around, stories half written, series not completed, and tons of edits to do.>
My second type of outline, I mentioned above, is my short outline. All that it contains is a few minor pieces to keep me on track.
This is for the sixth and last book in a series. backstory is clear, characters are generally made already and the final notes just need to be draw out. <I had burn out and didn’t return to finish it. I might still have burn out from the series. I wrote six books in about a year half a year ago.>
12th: Sam is killed. The king is killed. The queen goes crazy. Verde takes on Sari (who killed Sam). Natalie helps Xyaina give birth. Wilhelm takes over much of Verde’s duties. Alex pushes the school onto Wight. Wedding. Graduation. Honeymoon.
Short outlines are for when the bulk of the information is obvious to me. If you didn’t known the previous five books, you’d be clueless, but since I wrote them, I have a clear place to begin and end in the final book.
Outlines are valuable to writers. Even to pantsers. When again, I’m a gardener now, so many this is one of the steps needed for a pantser to turn into a gardener. I may not follow the normal route of an outline, but I have one.