Outling my story.

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Outling my story.

Postby crit34781 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:52 am

I just kind of begin stories without knowing where they're going which is terrible. I'm trying to get better at outlining. There are obvious things like antagonist prevents protagonist from getting what she wants, but I'm having trouble knowing what the antagonist is in this particular story. Can it just be a a flaw of the character or does it have to be an outside force? If so, how do I implement it? This is a story about a girl selling her soul to the devil to get back at her peers for betraying her. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks! :D
crit34781
Name: Sarah Abu-Ali
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Re: Outling my story.

Postby crit19292 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:03 am

Why do you need an antagonist? I often tell people that stories have antagonists because the writer did not have enough story without one. The stories I enjoy writing have enough drama, challenge, and intrigue without an antagonist.

Life has taught me that accomplishing things is not easy. Some asshole trying to stop me is just an asshole, and not worth having in my life or my stories. Remove the assholes, and what I want to do is still not easy. I have found when I remove antagonists my story has more drama (the interactions between people becomes more on personalities and not on petty differences), more stress (the problems are real problems and not just dealing with some asshole), and more emotion (the protagonists usually has to deal with his/her own failings).

Outlining is a good tool when you are stuck. I use it to track secondary characters, assure plot points, and help pace my tales. Otherwise I let my characters write themselves. It is their story, and without antagonists they are free to be themselves and not keep stopping to deal with some asshole.

At least that is my opinion.
I will not deny myself having my opinions.
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Re: Outling my story.

Postby crit34781 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:48 pm

hmm well that's certainly a perspective I've never heard before. I think i'm just trying to figure out what the main conflict is but you could be right. Thanks for the reply :) (sorry this post will be short as i'm having the beginnings of a migraine.)
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Name: Sarah Abu-Ali
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Re: Outling my story.

Postby crit33524 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:27 am

crit34781 wrote:I just kind of begin stories without knowing where they're going which is terrible.

Stop. No it isn't.

For debate purposes there are "pantsers" who, with a clear mind, sit down and start writing a story, and "plotters" who plan out every detail meticulously.

The reality is that probably 99% of all writers are somewhere between those extremes.

The correct writing process FOR YOU is the one that works FOR YOU. What works for SOMEONE ELSE is... maybe a source of ideas for you to try, which might or might not improve YOUR process... but nothing to take seriously, because YOU AREN'T SOMEONE ELSE.

(Me? I start out knowing a setting, some characters, a problem or two, where the story is going to end, and maybe a couple points along the way. So far I have never written an outline of a story I wanted to write.)

There are obvious things like antagonist prevents protagonist from getting what she wants, but I'm having trouble knowing what the antagonist is in this particular story. Can it just be a a flaw of the character or does it have to be an outside force? If so, how do I implement it?


An antagonist is an ongoing or recurring difficulty, preferably an active one - although not necessarily a sapient one. Yes, a character flaw can be an antagonist, if the character has to struggle against it to avoid self-sabotage... or to recover from the effects of self-sabotage...

Outside force? In a combat story, one antagonist is typically the enemy forces as a whole, or a single commander thereof. Individual units are simply obstacles to be overcome, evaded, or gone around somehow. In an earthquake story, often the collective effects of the earthquake are an antagonist.
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