I was put on the defensive last night by another writer after mentioning that I outline my stories before writing.

"How can they breathe if you restrict them with your predetermined story?", she asked. "Why can’t you let your characters live free to discover their own destinies?"

Because I don’t want to. Fuck ’em. They’re my characters, I made them and they live or die at my whim. That’s what they get for being fictional.

Just because we (usually) read a story from the beginning straight through to the end doesn’t mean I have to write them that way.

Time isn’t necessarily linear. We perceive time as linear, but it’s possible that a being from a higher dimension (for simplicities sake let’s call him/her/it "God") can rotate, manipulate and observe the forth dimension (let’s call the forth dimension "time") as easily as we can effect second and third dimensional objects.

As the writer I am God of my story/world, so why should I limit myself to linear time?

I start by writing down scenes, actions, plot-points, bits of dialogs and other elements that I might want in the story. When I have enough material I sort this list into a rough continuity. This list isn’t set in stone, but it gives me some direction, it lets me know where to take the story.

I feel that this method helps prevent writer’s block. If I get stuck on the third scene I can leave it and work on a different scene, and I can come back to the problem scene when I feel inspired.

We eventually agreed that both methods are valid.

Whatever works, for you is the superior method because no one will really care how a story was written, they’ll only care if it’s good or not.

Filed under: LiveJournal Days,Uncategorized
Comments: (5)


  1. But my way is still better.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 4, 2003 @ 2:57 pm

  2. Outlines rule. Freeform is for pretentious fucks who don’t have editors.

    Comment by mpschuster — October 4, 2003 @ 3:36 pm

  3. There’s nothing wrong with an outline. You can always change the damned thing, if you like.

    Tangent: for stories that are non-linear themselves, you could do worse than to read these two incredible novels:

    “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller

    “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut

    Apropos of nothing- there are 73042 auctions in the eBay category “Mature Audences” right now.

    Comment by anonymous — October 8, 2003 @ 10:38 am

  4. > there are 73042 auctions in the eBay category “Mature Audences”
    > right now.

    How many are you bidding on?

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 8, 2003 @ 4:59 pm

  5. >>there are 73042 auctions in the eBay category “Mature Audences”
    >>right now.

    >How many are you bidding on?

    About a quarter of them. Owning a platinum MasterCard means never having to say you’re sorry.

    I’m especially hoping I win the auction titled “REAL FRIST TIMER NINA WOW WHAT A BABE.” [sic] It’s being sold by “monkeyspankpro,” who bizarrely enough has a 100% positive feedback rating. There’s nothing that says “total customer satisfaction” like a username such as “monkeyspankpro.”

    Comment by anonymous — October 9, 2003 @ 1:59 pm

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