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Thread: Short story/flash fiction outlines?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Short story/flash fiction outlines?

    I'm someone who works best with an outline for longer works, but have been writing short stories/flash pieces 'on the fly'. Keep in mind, these are very short stories, generally around 1000 words. Reading back on them, however, they're a very rough draft and maybe would have been better if I spent the time outlining or even doing a little character exploration first.

    So, how do you write your short pieces? Do you outline first or just go with what's in your head?

    Not hip enough yet for a blog or tweets.

    Lenora's Story (novel, 50,000 + words, thanks Nano!)
    New Chick Lit project formulating in my head now

  2. #2
    figuring it all out
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Generally, I don't outline flash fiction. I go on an impression or a character, and see where that leads me. But, I am not necessarily the good example...
    'Life is a game of hide and seek, dripping in karma' - Midnight

  3. #3
    The King Who Bore the Sword J.W. Alden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    PBC, Florida
    Flash fiction I almost never outline. Short stories I outline sometimes, depending on the story itself. One of the reasons I started writing shorts to begin with was to experiment and play around with different approaches and see what I like best. It's been a complete failure in that regard though, as I seem to like both methods equally (though I've fallen in love with the short form).
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    "Möbius" in Nature
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  4. #4
    Stealing your twiglets. Anninyn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Rain-swept dystopia.
    I only ever do sketchy outlines for novels. I never outline flash. Short stories, I jot down the core of the idea and than the 5 questions

    It would end up looking like this:

    Haunted house in post-apocalyptic world
    - Who: MC = scavenger for small comm.
    - When: Post apocalypse. 60 years post? over a period of three/four days.
    - what: Ghosts of the pre-apoc dead. At least one ghost who died there as result of apoc.
    - Why: Build up of fear and pain - psychic residue. MC trapped in house after staying there for night.
    - How: Standard haunting stuff, doors that lock selves, clock that keeps chiming specific time, bad dreams.

  5. #5
    Is the goldfish koi? feath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    London, England
    I don't outline flash or short stores, cause I can hold it all in my head. When it gets past the point I can hold it in my head, it always becomes novella or novel size.
    I'm dyslexic. My spelling is inventive. Your correcting my spelling won't help.

  6. #6
    Bango Skank Charles Farley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Ninth Circle
    No time . . . . One main character, one scene, single plot, one conflict, start as close to the end as possible with as little back story as possible . . . every word counts . . don't waste them . . . done.

    Or something like that . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by swachski View Post
    .. you need to get some sensitivity training, man...

    Quote Originally Posted by SWest View Post
    *becomes hopelessly enmeshed in the narcissism*

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    My shed
    I've outlined a couple stories, but that's because they were longer and needed more time to develop; I just wanted to get the gist down. Otherwise, no. The plots are simple enough to keep in my head... although there might be some leakage.

  8. #8
    oldie turned newbie squeaky pram's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    I don't outline for two reasons. One, I never know where the story is going until I've written it. I "write into the dark", as they say. Two, I'm crap at outlines, even in my scholarship. I hate and shun them.

    What I do do [insert a ten-year-old tittering: "doo-doo!"] is take inventories at various points in the process. I write down elements that I think may be important or may be blind alleys.... whatever is there at the time. It's just a little-something concrete that I can muse over and refer back to. I suppose that makes me a list-maker. Love them lists!

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    I never outline. But you should do what works for you, not what works for me.


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