soc_puppet: Miraculous Ladybug; the design from the Cat Miraculous: A green cat pawprint on a black field (Cat Noir)
Ha-HAH! With the majority of my brain powers restored and me mostly on the mend from that horrible throat cold thing that's been going around in these parts, I have finally gotten the willpower to finish this: my example of how to take a story idea and turn it into an outline!

It's Miraculous Ladybug, because that's what I'm into at the time of this writing, but I hope it still makes a modicum of sense to folks unfamiliar with the show. I'll probably go back and edit this again with a mind to that later, but for right now I'm pretty much happy that it's done at all. (Also, majority of brain powers restored is not entirety of brain powers restored, and giving my noggin a bit more of a rest while I'm still somewhat on the mend would not be remiss.)

(Yes, I probably should be using a Ladybug icon instead of a Cat Noir icon for this post, since I'm creating something, but I'm still editing that one and I'm finally happy with this one, so this is the one you get.)

Peer under the cut to find out how I go from Idea to Outline~! (ey said in eir best circus showperson voice) )

And that's a walkthrough of How to Outline as according to the Socchan School of Writing. (I will definitely need to revise my preliminary How to Outline post now.)

Side note/disclaimer: I do not actually plan to write this fic as of this point in time, which is one of the reasons I left Step 5 "incomplete". If this outline has piqued your interest and you might be interested in doing the grunt work of filling in scenes, uh. Maybe? Probably? IDK, if you're cool with the possibility that I may someday come back and write my own version, then go forth with my blessing (and link me when you're done). Edit: EXCEPT [personal profile] alexseanchai, who is not allowed anywhere near this until or unless they get more work done on the Double Trouble 'verse.
soc_puppet: Words "Creative Process" in purple (Creative Process)
This is definitely rough, but I think it's about right.

1) Start with an idea
1a) An idea you like, one you're passionate about
1b) It doesn't matter where it comes from! It could be...
1b1) An actual plot idea that you think might be interesting (All the Names I Know You By (Miraculous Ladybug), MC's secret identity becomes an open secret)
1b2) A single line, phrase, or paragraph (Him and Me and You and Her (Miraculous Ladybug), "My Lady," he said, "I can assure you that if you're really not interested in me, you wouldn't be interested in him,")
1b3) An actual prompt written by someone else (Pheromone Woes (Homestuck, NSFW), basically: Trolls emit a special pheromone when kissing that signals their desire to Do the Sex rather than using their words, their human partner doesn't know this, perceived rejection and confusion abounds)
1b4) A collection of thoughts or goals that you want to coalesce into a single story (Buzzer Beater (Miraculous Ladybug), something that has fun opportunities for interesting audio stuff in podfic recording)
1b4a) (If you're starting with this, first think of an idea for how all of these elements can work together in a single scene or story) (Buzzer Beater - "Maybe a game show of some kind? That would have lots of sound effects...")
1b5) Something else???

2) You have your idea? Great!
2a) Figure out the circumstances under which this idea occurs
2a1) What are the characters' emotional states? What are they thinking about?
2a2) What are they doing right now?

3) Figure out how your characters got to the idea point
3a) It may take only one scene
3b) It may take a lot of scenes
3b2) (Luckily, we already know how to write scenes)
3c) All we have to do is write down, in order, what we think will happen in the scenes leading up to the Idea Point

4) We know what happens to get us to the Idea Point? Great!
4a) Figure out how you want your story to end.
4a1) You can totally do this before Step 3, by the way
4a1a) Or even at the same time!
4b) Figure out the steps it will take to get your characters from the Idea Point to your desired ending
4c) Write those steps down, in order

5) REMEMBER, while you are thinking about how to get from Point B to Point A and Point C? BE SELF-INDULGENT.
5a) Think about how you would most want to get from the beginning to the Idea Point to the end, what would be most fun for you to write and that you would have the most fun re-reading to edit.
5b) Pampering yourself and making writing fun really, really helps with motivation to write and finish stuff.

6) You have everything you can think of?
6a) You got your characters and situation lined up so you can write the Idea you started from?
6b) You like the way the outline played out, and how the whole story shape feels to you?
6c) Great! Now let's get to work on that first scene!
soc_puppet: Words "Creative Process" in purple (Creative Process)
Am I going to turn this into a whole little lecture series? Yeah, I have no idea.

ANYWAY, sneaking in details!

Sometimes I have these little headcanons that I don't think warrant an entire fic. They're still useful, though, because I can use them to set scenes, or to justify actions that characters take, or just to expand the world in general.

Example from Metamour or Less (AO3 link):

When they'd first begun doing regular patrols, Ladybug had wasted no time in finding a secluded rooftop corner near her house to detransform in. It was risky to be seen clambering across rooftops as Marinette, but it would be riskier to try and sneak back in through the house when her parents thought she was asleep—and riskier still to try to get back in by any entrance as Ladybug. As an extra precaution, whenever she could, she would vary the time between when she arrived in her dark corner as Ladybug and when she left as Marinette.

It fits with Marinette's characterization of being ultra-cautious over protecting her secret identity, and sets the scene nicely for a discussion of same. It's also something I thought to myself, "I'll bet this is something Marinette does."

Merrythought (AO3 link) might be the exception there:

[Ladybug] shook her head. "It's not quite that simple. See, in order for the miraculous cleansing to work, the Lucky Charm has to be used. Remember Animan?"

Cat Noir shuddered. "Only every other nightmare."

Ladybug smiled sympathetically and patted his shoulder. "Well, the only reason I went back in was because I hadn't used the Lucky Charm for anything. If I hadn't used it to open Animan's mouth, nothing would have gone back to normal after, even though we could have captured and cleansed the akuma that turned him into a supervillain without it. All the animals would still be on the loose, and that bus would still be destroyed, in addition to everything else."

But then, I was only ever planning to use that headcanon as an explanation for what happens after, which I always thought of as the real hook. Merrythought is only its own fic because I wanted it to act as a prompt for other writers—because I thought the idea had a lot of fun potential, and couldn't imagine having the time to write every scenario myself, even if I could pick just one.

There's more in other fics, I'm sure, but I'm not in the mood to go digging at the moment. The point of this is: If you have a justification for why a character would do a certain thing, or act a certain way, or notice or not notice something, it is not only okay to include it, it can add something to the story you're building as a whole. You can come up with them as you construct scenes, or you can think of them independently and slip them in when you find (or accidentally make) a place for them.

(Bonus example: I'm not sure where I'm going to slide it in yet, but I've got a headcanon where: A) Right after Rena Rouge appeared, Alya spent three weeks researching exactly how Peter Parker gets pictures of Spiderman, and B) Nino totally noticed she was doing this, but hasn't necessarily put two and two together yet. I know I'll have the perfect fic opportunity to use this someday, but I'm not entirely sure where yet. Until then, I Wait.)


Jul. 22nd, 2018 06:54 pm
soc_puppet: Dreamsheep as Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time (Default)
Near as I can tell, what follows is roughly the Socchan School of Writing Scenes:

1) What is the first thing in this scene that a character needs to be doing?
1a) As in, if you didn't show the character doing this, you would have to write exposition of them doing this
1b) Like, a lot of exposition. Not just one or two sentences.
1c) Honestly, if you have to go into exposition to get to the exposition that explains this scene, back up a step.
1d) Don't go too far back, though! We don't need to be here all month.

2) What exactly is the character doing?
2a) Why are they doing this thing:
2a1) In this way?
2a2) At this time?
2b) Is there anything else we need to know about what they're doing right now?

3) Now that you have things to talk about as you do so, write the next thing that the character needs to do.
3a) Rinse and repeat until you get to the end of the scene.

4) Got it all? All the way to the end?
4a) Great!
4b) Go back to 1 with the next first thing a character needs to be doing.
4b1) Repeat until you run out of things you want/need characters to do.

*shrug* I think that's about it, anyway. Now I just need to not overthink this as I work <_< ....

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