Revisited: Structure and Outlining

by Lori, @lorisizemore on 11.14.2012

in then and now

Post image for Revisited: Structure and Outlining


Structural Integrity, Baby

When I start a story, I figure out pretty quick what that first turning point is going to be and where the plot (and subplots) will have to get to for it to happen. I’m a pantsy plotter. That also sets me down the road of “What happens next?” Well, the whole world just turned on it’s side–for good or bad, or both–and people (characters) are going to be scrambling to figure out how this new world works, where they fit in it, and how the heck they get to their goal now.

Don’t think of it as outlining, which still makes me cringe, and doesn’t really allow for narrative structure, anyway.  It’s a road map.  It’s where you’re going, where you’ve been, and how you’re going to get there.


I am a die hard plotter and outliner. I plot the story. I plot the acts. I plot the scenes. I plot the beats in the scene. Not all at once. At first, I immerse myself in the story with pictures of the characters and settings, a soundtrack, and handwritten biographies. Then I write several thousand words. Then I stop. Then I get annoyed because it’s going somewhere I don’t even get and what is the stupid motivation here, anyway? Then I rip up what I have, plot the entire story, in acts. Then I start writing. Before I start each scene, I note the beats of the scene. What happens, what changes, where does it get all twisty?

I’m a control freak. But I write a better story for it.

“I’m a control freak. But I write a better story for it.” ~ Click to Tweet

Image courtesy of Kimberly Vohsen via stock.xchng

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Landra Graf
December 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm EDT

Funny how our writing style changes over the course of years. I’m still enjoying a bit of the unknown, and getting my butt kicked for it. I think the most enjoyable part is being able to share in your progression.
Landra Graf | Funday Monday: December 3, 2012My Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: