Story Outline, Structure and Line-edits

Ok, I’ve just finished my first revision of my story, and the ‘revision’ consisted of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and any obvious story inconsistencies. Does that equal line-edits? I haven’t changed any of the story, so maybe not.

So with this complete, I started analysing my story and thinking about more structural edits. Now, I know what people would be thinking: do the structure first, then do the line-edits, and that’s what I thought too. But anyway, I began rethinking the story, and then I realised what I was doing and stopped. Remembering my goal from the previous post:

“To get a story complete and published.”

So I stopped with the big story changes. Yes, I can see how the story could be improved. Yes, I can see (now) where the outline was weak, and characters or scenes needed more development, but changing all this now is going to hold me up with my goal. I must remind myself, that this story is going to be one of many, and I will get better the more I produce (read: publish).

I’m sure the critical voice in my head would keep me from publishing forever; claiming that I could ‘just tweak this’ and ‘just change that’ etc., but, as I said to my partner, Avila:

The longer it takes (to write one story), and the more arduous the process, the more I’m going to dread beginning the next one.

I don’t want that to happen. So far, my writing process has been quick and fun.

Take my story outline for example:

It happened so fast and easily that my story grew into 20k words before I even knew it. I wish I documented that phase because I need to replicate it again, and I struggling to recall how I got from A to B there.

I think I thought up an inciting incident (some skaters finding a box of skate products), then from there I planned out what they were going to do with it (steal it, get caught, feel guilty, and take it back), then I planned out lots of complications getting from point A (being in possession of the box) to point B (of getting it back to the shop). From there, I decided how things could go horribly wrong (them being caught trying to sell the products by the shop owner) and a crisis happening (being locked in the owners car and driven to the Woods instead of being taken to the Police station as he claimed he was doing), and finally, I decided upon a Climax (the owner being so impressed by the kids ability to sell the gear that he offers them the chance to start a new company with him and sell more products), and a Resolution (being taken seriously at the skatepark)

I then took each one of those points and planned out another five points for each of them, which includes another inciting incident, complications, crisis, climax, and resolution. I then ended up with a total of 43 files and planned to write a minimum of 500 words for each section. I ended up with 22k words, and a story which (quite reasonably) goes from beginning to end along a decent path.

22k words is a very short story, but I’m happy with that. I’m keen to rewrite many of the chapters (my next job) and make them better (they’ll probably double in length. So, with that in mind, I’ll eventually end up with a decent novella length 50k word story.


Maybe I won’t, and I’ll just complete what I’ve got and move on to the next one!

I really want this story writing to be fast and fun so I can do it again and again and again!

Mark 🙂

Photo by freshphotography24



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