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Author Topic: outlines  (Read 1615 times)
Prose Polisher

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Thunder Bird

« on: August 20, 2011, 05:03:08 PM »

Never could do them way back in school through i think they could be very useful if their was a way that they would connect to my brain...

Between moving and working nights and major computer issues I think I've missed the deadline for this assignment 3 times.  I've tried again to re-email my new email address to the institute, time will tell if it gets through...  been months since I've been here cause computer would redirect me every time.... 

So any ideas on how to make outlines actually work would be awesome, I just hope they haven't exiled me from the class yet...  Terrie

May wild horses race in your dream
keyboard pounder

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A.K.A. Sara

« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2011, 06:12:32 PM »

An outline to me is a little like a condensed summary of all of the major points in your story. Extended detail is usually not too important. When I first started thinking of outlines, I thought of drawing... like a circle. The best advice I can give is to pinpoint, and squeeze your story into a few paragraphs that fit to your story length.

So get your Plot, Theme, Conclusion, etc...figured out, then highlight those. Add in a couple extra's around those main ideas, and tie it together.
The Raven's Quoth

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Yes, I'm awake now!

« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 06:39:29 PM »

I kind of cheated ... I had already written one of the stories and then just gave brief summary of chronological events.  If you were to outline your life, you might do something like this:

year 0: born
Year 5: Kindergarten, met my best friend there
Year 8: Rover died
Year 10: parents divorced
Year 16: driver's licence
year 17: dropped out of high school, worked (hated it), came back to school
Year 18: dropped out of high school again

blah blah blah

Okay that is really too simplified.  You would have to write the details that matter to the story - what pulls it all along.  If I wanted to focus on the family life and the importance of parents, I might show aspects of my family, good and bad, before and after the divorce, and what keeps us together anyway, etc.

Good luck - and don't overthink it.

Does that help or make it more confusing?  Sorry it's late and I need to sleep, so I will let others answer this one.

A house is not a home without cat fur all over the furniture.  Honest!
Prose Polisher

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Thunder Bird

« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2011, 06:45:13 PM »

A friend suggested these for guidelines

3 Intro to Characters
4 What happens
5 The most exciting part
6 The moral to the story
7 Conclusion

if your writing like 1200 words in the end story how many would you actually need for an outline?

any ideas are helpful and I'm grateful for them  Thanks....   

May wild horses race in your dream

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I *am* the ghost in the machine

« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2011, 04:23:33 AM »

I think the whole "outline" thing freaks people out. It's actually much simplier than that.

We just want to see you plan possible stories or articles you have ideas for and could write. The purpose of the Assignment is to see if you (1) can create a clear plot that has a main character who drives the action. For a fiction piece, the best thing to do is summarize the story action so that it's clear that you have a main character with a story problem and you show how she's/he's working through the problem. For example, here's the "outline" for a story I wrote for a monthly write off once:

Beginning: Bear wakes up and discovers "Goldilocks" in his kitchen eating his food. He grumbled and she cries -- so the kind hearted bear tries to make her feel at home.

Middle: After eating ALL his food in the house, "Goldilocks" complains of still being hungry. The desperate Bear heads out to pick apples to fill her tummy. He meets his friend Beaver who helps him gather apples and carry them home.

End: When they get home, Beaver recognizes "Goldilocks" is really fox in a dress. Fox tries to run off but Bear and Beaver catch him and put him to work making apple pies from all the apples they brought home. A Yummy restitution.

Do you see how this summary process works? That certainly isn’t written like the actual story but it focuses on summarizing the action in a way that showed clearly what the plot and plot action would be. Along with this short summary, you'll also include the story's title, the main characters list, the age you visualize for the readership, the length you foresee for the final story, and the magazines you believe would be good market matches for the story (and why you chose those markets). Your instructor doesn’t actually need a long story summary but does need the plan to show how the main character is going to handle the plot problem. The main character’s name (therefore) should start nearly all of the sentences in the plans
   Now, just in case you wanted to try nonfiction, the best way to create a plan is to use a loose outline. For example this would be how I might plan an article:

Title: The Technology of the Tiny

Opening Hook: During the Korean war, computers were used by the Navy to help target weapons. The computer that did the job filled an entire room on the ship. Today, those same calculations could be done with a computer the size of lego brick. As techology improves, we get more and more capacity from smaller and smaller devices -- but how small will they go? Advances in nanotechnology suggest the computers may eventually be smaller than you can see.

A: What is nanotechnology?
-- definition
-- examples
B: History of nanotech
-- scientists & discoveries
C: What is nanotechnology doing today and tomorrow?

Even an outline as simple as that gives clear clues to what I intend to do with the article and how I'll organize the information and how I'll start the article. With nonfiction, you'll also include the expected length, reader age, and markets. And I always ask students to include a loose list of some of the sources they plan to use I can help with market choice since sources are a huge part of knowing who will buy an article. They are actually just plans for potential stories or articles.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 07:38:27 AM by jfields » Logged

Fierce Warrior Bunny

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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2011, 07:24:37 AM »

Thank you Jan  Smiley
A Friend Among Friends

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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 08:23:33 AM »

Thanks Jan.  This puts me at ease. 
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