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Characters are dominating your thoughts, your fingers are itching to type and the beginning of a great story fills your computer screen.  Then...silence. You reach that point in your story where your characters take a coffee break and you are left with writer's block.

This has happened to me more times than I wish to admit. The story my thoughts have been obsessed with are eventually filed away and forgotten. It is so frustrating.

New characters are once again running amuck in my head. This time I refuse to allow them to check out on me halfway through the story. My professor, Steve Alcorn, taught me that outlining is a wonderful technique. I agree it is a great idea. Today I read an article written by author Randy Ingermanson. Randy's technique is the Snowflake method. I am excited to use this method and thought I would share it with fellow authors. Let me know your thoughts.

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/

 

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Comment by Katie McKnight on May 17, 2013 at 5:35am

Hi Nolah and Jack. Thank you for sharing what works for each of you.  I am making notes of all the suggestions I received and look forward to experimenting to find out what works best for me.  So far, I'm having a difficult time planning.  The characters are screaming too loud. They want to run their own lives.  I can only admit to other writers about the voices in my head.  Anyone else would lock me up.  LOL.  Enjoy your night.

Comment by Nolah Reed on May 18, 2013 at 3:06am

Katie...sounds like you have your plan already. Let them run their lives through your fingers on a keyboard, without interfering with them. You'll be surprised at what you come up with.

Best,

Nolah

Comment by Katie McKnight on May 18, 2013 at 4:02pm
Nolah, you are right.
Comment by Joseph C. Sciarillo on June 26, 2013 at 9:01pm

I have written four novels and each time I used an outline. Before I start the outline I try to come up with a one or two sentence description of the story and then create  a scene outline. I try keep the scene description to one or two sentences. Some times after I begin writing a character will behave in such a way that I have to revisit the outline. In my last completed story, the character I had intended to be a contrast to my originally intend main character came off so angry that I started asking questions as to why is he so angry. I soon realized that I had a much better story if I worked out the angry character and made my original main character a unwanted mentor to my new main character. Even if you have an outline, you need to be flexible and prepared to analyze where your story is going and adjust. For me it is much easier to adjust an outline than it is to adjust a story after it is written. I have used software to help me keep track of my structure (I have tried several)  but I try not

to buy into the process embedded in the software too much because they can make your approach too rigid. I try not to think of everything before I write the story because my characters, and I need a certain amount of freedom to be spontaneous,    

Comment by Katie McKnight on June 26, 2013 at 10:04pm

I totally agree Joseph Sciarillo.  I have adjusted my approach and am happier with my current novel compared to the novels I had to rewrite in the past due to freestyle writing.  Thank you for sharing.

Comment by Angela Q. Bertone on October 30, 2013 at 5:44am

So far I have only taken the path of freewriting, but that is only because the thought of making an outline feels like homework to me.  So far I have mostly children's books and freewriting has served me well.  However, I aspire to write a novel and I know that outlining is in my future.  I guess time to grow and bite the bullet.  I have also seen the snowflake process and it gives me hope I can do this.  Thanks for the article and for all the post that encourages both.   

Comment by Katie McKnight on November 11, 2013 at 9:01pm

Outlining works best for me.  Just so it doesn't seem like torture, I keep the paper close by and add notations or thoughts as I go.  Right now I'm working on my second novel and slowly outlining the third.  I have tried both and freestyle doesn't work for me.  I wrote 32 chapters of a book and had to start over.  Unfortunately, I hit a dead end.  :}  Thank you for your thoughts Angela. 

Comment by Katie McKnight on November 19, 2013 at 1:50am

Thank you Jack! :}

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