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How do you outline?

5 days ago

I'm finding it a struggle to plan for a choice story when there's so many different directions it can go.

Not that I'm having trouble coming up with ideas, but it's noting it all down in an organized way is just a big mess. Does anyone have any special methods or apps they use?

For example the main story I'm working on now, you're a member of the royal guard in an underwater city and you learn the youngest princess has snuck off again and needs to be found. You search different places for her (which I use as a way to explain information about the setting) and then when you find her she tells you she's overheard a suspicious conversation. And this is the point where I just start to get lost, because you can believe her or not believe her and go about investigating in different ways, and when you learn clues you're supposed to have different things you can do with THOSE, and it's hard to keep it all together in my head. I've tried drawing boxes with lines and all of that I've seen suggested before but for anything other than a small story there's just too much information to store that way. 

How do you outline?

5 days ago
Numbers.

Each page has a number. When I am planning, when I reach a split, I list each choice and give each destination the next available page numbers.

Ex:

Page 1: Intro
Some stuff
-> Choose Yes (2)
-> Choose No (3)

Page 2: Yes
Stuff because you said yes
-> Choose Door #1 (4)
-> Choose Door #2 (5)
-> Choose Door #3 (6)

Page 3: No

etc.

Yes, it can get confusing because you end up writing things in a different order, but it helps me keep track of where I'm going and which pages I haven't written yet.

How do you outline?

5 days ago

I use spreadsheets, but my approach can also work on any document that lets you indent indefinitely.  I do it like this:

 

1) Choice one, option 1
     2) Option 1, outcome, choice two
           3) Option 1, outcome, choice three, etc.
           3) Option 2, outcome, choice three, etc.
     2) Option 2, outcome, death ENDGAME
1) Choice one, option 2
    2) Option 1, outcome, choice two
           3) Option 1, outcome, choice three
           3) Option 2, outcome, death ENDGAME
     2) Option 2, outcome, choice two
           3) Option 1, outcome, choice three
           3) Option 2, outcome, choice three, etc.

 

This is good for cave of time games and gauntlet games.  For a game with more complex structure, I'd recommend something else.

How do you outline?

yesterday
Maybe try just planning and then writing one major path at a time, and just keeping a few notes about other major branchpoints to come back to later.

How do you outline?

yesterday
SETTING
blah blah blah

PLOT LINES
blah blah blah

You wake up, what now?
- do ABC
- do XYZ
    > you decide to do XYZ
    END

Just another indentation strategy. The format isn't set up to make sense of scripting, items, or looping to other pages. But it's easy enough to shove it all in a single text document.

How do you outline?

yesterday
For cave of time, it can be helpful to think of paths as in choices. If it's strictly cave of time, and every path is the same length, then you can think of it like this. Choice 1: 1: Path A 2: Path B Path A Choice: 1: Path AA 2: Path AB Path B Choice: 1: Path BA 2: Path BB Path: AA Choice: 1: Path AAA 2: Path AAB And so on and so forth. Now you can obvouisly take some liberties, like have 3 choices, and I don't write this out. But when I'm thinking of my story, this is the terms I think of it in. The choies are front and center here, and if they are the focus of your outline you won't end up with a linear story. Additional, something I've done in the past that I've found doesn't work the best for me, but might for you, is using the cys editior as an outline. Write a couple of sentences of what you want to happen on that page, and do that for the whole story. It gives you a solid fondation because you always know what to write, but I find it too constricting, plus that process takes a while since the hardest part about writing a story imo is finding out what to write on each page.