Friday, December 16, 2005

Plot Summary

Moving along with Wiesner's outlining method, days four and five has me write up a summary of the plot, or as much as I know to start with. I actually have a pretty good idea about the whole story, so this is a rather long document. While I don't usually write this kind of information down, I usually do keep up with the major scenes in my head. What I don't usually keep up with are the smaller scenes that occur in between. One of the troubling points about outlining in general, I think, is that you don't always know what scenes are going to be there until you actually find yourself writing the scene. For example, I knew I would have a scene in which the antagonist and protagonist meet and he tries to tempt her to his side. What I didn't realize initially, however, is that they needed to have a social engagement -- I had them go out to dinner -- to highlight the differences in their statuses. The outline wouldn't have picked that need up.

Now, in defense of outlining, so long as you never force yourself to stay exactly on the outline, this isn't really a problem. But if the point of outlining is to anticipate future plot holes, how can it do that if all the scenes are there? I suppose I might have thought of this missing scene while writing the outline, but I'm not completely sure of that. The scene just flowed naturally from the dialogue between the characters -- something that wouldn't have been included in the outline. It remains to be seen if other scenes from later in the story occur to me as I'm writing the summary of scenes I already know about.

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