Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

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Outlines and short stories

I chased away the blues yesterday and woke up early this morning, full of ideas.  I've been fussing over what to write for the GSHW short story competition.  Originally, I planned to write a horror story.  I had (I thought) a great premise and plot, but when I wrote the outline, it didn't feel quite right, so about a week ago, I decided to let it fester for a while and go with something else, a sci-fi, set in the late 1940s, that I came up with last year.

The weird thing is, after I wrote a 1,000 word outline for that,  I realized I didn't like the ending.  I liked the sci-fi part of it though, so I've changed the setting (now mid 1950s), come up with completely different set of characters, changed the non sci-fi part of the plot and did a lot of online research.  This morning, I took another look at it and changed the beginning one last time.  So far, I'm up to 700 words.  I expect to finish the first (3,500-word) draft by the weekend. 

I'm a great believer in using outlines (I even do one for the 100-word drabbles I write).  I find it enormously helpful to get the whole story straight in my head before I start to do the first draft.  Even though I've spent a lot of time and effort on the above-mentioned sci-fi idea before putting pen to paper as it were, and despite the fact that I may well change some other things as I go along, I consider it more than worthwhile, since (at least as far as I'm concerned), I've ended up with a stronger story than the one I'd have told if I just sat down and started typing. 

How about you?  Does anyone else outline short stories? 
Tags: fiction, gshw

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