I find that I can’t do a traditional outline. I have difficulty going ‘A, B, C . . .’ Instead, I write what amounts to a block style synopsis. I use Microsoft Word for actually writing my story, everything else–bits for future chapters, general notes, bits cut from chapters (I never delete anything entirely), and other misc. relative crap–gets put into a note program. I used to use OneNote on my PC, but since I got my iMac, I use Growly Notes.
I need to have the whole plot worked out in my head before I can commit anything to paper. I used to work with MS Office, but recently I’ve switched over to Gdoc.
With fanfiction, so far, I’ve pretty much used just my head. I keep an image of the major scene and the opening, and then use that to make all the little scenes link together. Even if I have a definite plan on paper, whatever happens in a chapter happens and will mess it all up anyway!
I’ve used an outline just to keep the chapters from getting out of hand, and that helps tremendously, because the story can get away from you and end up being 80 million chapters when your original plan was 25. I try to focus on the goal and not get side tracked.
I just started using a storyboard for a new project, which is basically a really structured tool to keep your plot and character development cohesive and grounded and following within the rules of fiction writing. I have a slight fear of committment when it comes to writing, so it’s been harder for me to do that because I feel like once it’s down on paper, it’s final, which is not the case, of course. I have a few different copies of storyboards if anyone is interested.
I started out not outlining at all and very quickly realized that stories had a way of getting out of hand if I “pantsed” it completely (pants = fly by the seat of your pants). Being me, I went the complete opposite direction and tried detailed outlining. I quickly found out that trying to make my characters bend to my will would only give me a serious case of Writer’s Block.
I finally read a little on the outlining process and found something that works well. I use the 10 scene flow chart to outline all of my stories. Basically, the idea is that every story, be it 100 words or 200,000, can be broken down into 10 major scenes. It takes a stretch, but if you apply it to one of your favorite books, I bet you can boil the action down to 10 scenes that make or break the book. The rest is just filler to bolster up the story. I break my stories down into those 10 important scenes to make sure I hit all of the important things and let the supporting scenes fall into place as they will. It’s a nice balance between pantsing and over outlining.
For my previous stories, I used Microsoft Word and Excel. I tried out Scrivener with il Sensale. I’m also a huge fan of index cards.
I use a pen and a paper and jot down major plot points; where I want to start and where I want to end and how I get there.
This out line isn’t gospel because sometimes the story goes its own way during the writing process but usually that’s only about small things.
I’m a visual person, so I use post-it notes and a wall to outline. It makes it easy to make changes as I go along, and I work best when I can see the story as a whole.
I use Microsoft Word to write, but I generally don’t write an outline at all. I might jot some ideas down and revisit them, but everything tends to be up in my head and I just let the story flow from there. I follow the characters, I don’t dictate where they go. Everybody has their own style, but that’s what works for me.
If the story is a one-shot, I write a summary of the entire story and then I begin to write.
If the story is a multichapter fic, I write a long summary of the entire plot. Then I write a short summary chapter by chapter.
For “An Italian Winter,” I prepared also a timeline, since I had to switch between the story and the back story.
I use OpenOffice.
To keep everything organized, I use a table – chapter by chapter.
My basic outline is in Word doc with chapter names and brief synopsis of what happens in each chapter to help in progression of the story. It is not uncommon for me to have to renumber though when a chapter deviates or is expanded into 2 chapters. if that happens I often start out with lettered chapters (i.e. Chapter 12a and 12b)
I have just started using YWriter5, and I really like it. It’s great for outlining, because you build a story by chapters, and then scenes within those chapters. It’s easy to move around scenes, and when you’re done, you just export it to a RTF file and use Word for final formatting.