Plot Structure/Outline Issues

by Krishna~
(Home of the Free :P )

Question: *I'd like to say that this happens to be a bit long because I obviously tend to ramble from nervousness, however I deeply appreciate the effort of anyone willing to read it and attempt to answer it!! Thank you~

I'm not quite sure what topic this may technically fall under but I believe it's this one.. Regardless, I've dreamed of becoming a writer for some time now. I've wanted to become one since I was ten or so, I'm now fifteen and haven't seemed to have gotten much of anywhere. I read quite a lot and that affects my speech, luckily in a good way, but practice writing only occasionally. I do try, but can barely scrape together a measly paragraph to be honest. Now enough of my life's story and onto my problem:

I tend to have many ideas for books, none of which I can piece together correctly. Never good. For example, erm...
Simon goes on an adventure to.. Voldavia, and he finds a magic glove. Why is he going to Voldavia? For a funeral? A party? His house burned down? How did he find the glove? Who did he meet? Who were they? (Roll with me here, examples aren't my thing) Let's say Simon is apart of a secret government bureau and a cult/terrorist group felt the need to burn his house down as a warning. Simon has lost everything. Using the remainder of his money, he moves to Voldavia and attempts to make a new life for himself. While building his makeshift cabin at the edge of the woods he stumbles across something. Blah, blah, blah.. magic glove!! --How would this happen? Also, how would I properly write these events as they happen? Dialogue wise, thoughts and such?

Lastly, the book I AM trying to write.. the protagonist is visiting Hawaii for whatever reason (a funeral, if I manage to write it as such) and after doing whatever it is that he
went to Hawaii for, he hangs out on the beach and eventually becomes drunk. My character happens to be 17 and I'm thinking some guy hands him a six-pack or whatever while he's trying to find somewhere to relax on the beach. (This is where thoughts would be the hardest to write, simply because my character would most likely be upset over his uncle's/uncle's wife's passing. (Or because my character is slightly conceited and is ticked because of something involving his parents?) Anyways, he blacks out at some point, having drank possibly the entire six pack, and wakes up on a boat and has apparently agreed to going on a quest with this possibly sane/insane Gilligan (with brains) type-character. I have no idea where to start. How does one make an outline? I understand the steps of how to, but not how to chop certain parts of the book into segments of what will happen when and such. How do you decide what will happen when??

I'll check this for answers periodically so no worries \(^-^)/

Answer: What you're doing right now--interrogating your ideas, brainstorming potential answers, making choices, etc. is a valid process. Keep doing that to flesh out your ideas.

At the same time, I suggest you look at some of the articles on this site that relate to story structure, starting with this one...

...which covers the basic elements of plot and how to come up with a short outline.

You might also look at some of the models of story structure discussed here...

And here...

They can help you map out your plot and give shape to your ideas.

After you've read these, you will have a pretty good understanding of story structure.

The next step is to not get overwhelmed by theory, but keep doing the creative thinking.

Also, try writing something every day, even if it's just one page, or even half a page. It will get easier with practice.

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by: Krishna~

I appreciate the helpful advice!! ^-^ One last question however, many people say that one should practice writing and such everyday. Writing what? Should I be focusing on some sort of genre, dialogue, random description of things and people,(which I normally do) or thoughts expressed in other ways aside from dialogue?(Which happens to be something I need to work on but find difficult to do.)

Once again, very thankful for the help!! (:

by: Glen

Anything you write is good practice. Maybe you start out doing writing prompts/exercises, journaling, or poetry. Maybe you decide to write a short story or essay. Or you may choose to work on a big project (such as a book or novel).

You have to follow your own instincts regarding what to write, because you have to write what interests you.

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