Writing with an Outline

When I write, there is usually no real structure behind the process. The moment takes me and within seconds I’m scribbling (or typing) away a wonderful scene. Most of my writing is done this way. I get a general idea of a plot, I only begin to develop characters, and soon I’m running with it.

But I suppose I can only sprint for so long?

So I’m testing something, with one of my most recent fanfiction. Actually writing with an outline. Since it’s based on a video game (Dragon Age II), I already know the basic timeline of events, but I’m also trying to fill in the gaps in the game. (There are two three year ‘gaps’ that will be featured in the story that I’ll be filling.)

So I have a pretty solid structure already set up. Then I decided to outline the chapters. I want to make sure I keep a regular updating schedule for this fanfiction. So I decided there are two things I should do in order to achieve that: Have a minimum of 10 chapters ready before posting the story online, and then I decided that it might just be a good idea to have a vague outline.

For a lot of them, they have the in-game quest name(s) listed and nothing else. Others have a small note. Such as “Ch. 6: A New Home? The Hawkes reclaim the Amell Estate,” which is the chapter I’m on right now. While some chapters are up to a full paragraph of summary.

So far, I have up to Chapter 30 outlined in this way, and the next 10-15 are after the first ‘gap’, and it’s more decided if I want to include more before ACT II and what I want to include during that time. Then the ‘Champion’ gap, and ACT III. Epilogue may end up being its separate story.

I’ve never done outlines before, although many people swear by them. So, I’m giving it a try. In the mean time, here’s a “deleted scene” from the story…

“You know, Ophelia, with how you skulk about, you could get just about as much info in this town as I do.” Varric teased as the woman stepped out of the shadows, the door closing to his private room. Damian, she noted, had the sense this time not to jump when she appeared. He had done so many times when they were growing up that she would scare him easily. She smirked slightly as she sank into a chair at his table, not even waiting for them to be seated.

“It’s served me well so far.” She answered breezily, shrugging simply as her brother took another seat at the table.

“I am curious how you got to be so good at it, though.” The dwarf asked as he sat down at ‘his’ seat, indicating Damian with one hand, “Your siblings are no where near as quiet as you.”

“You can hear Carver from a mile away, however…” Her brother muttered.

“I had to be the one to sneak up and find out what the Templars were doing, even when we were young.” She explained, “I had no magic, so the Templars couldn’t sense me. Doesn’t mean they couldn’t hear me though. When I was young, they simply assumed I was a curious child, but they’d insist on bringing me back to my parents. So I learned to hide better. I’m so good at it, as you say, because I’ve been doing it my whole life. Shadowing Templars to make sure they didn’t know we were a family of apostates…”

“I still always chuckled when you call us a family of apostates, sis.” Damian said with a wide grin, she shrugged, having heard it before, but Varric raised a brow at the mage, so he explained, “Technically, according to the Chantry, only half of us would be considered apostate. Mother just calls us a family, never mentioning apostate, and rarely mage. She doesn’t care, but Carver likes to differentiate himself. He’s not an apostate, just related to a couple.”


This also means that I can write whatever scene I want to in the mean time. So let’s see how this works out.