21 comments on “Outlining Backwards and the “Domino Effect” for Scenes

  1. Sounds good, although I’m not sure of the domino effect. Just re-reading a Terry Pratchett where he flips between three story lines. His scenes don’t flow from one to the next as much as they leap-frog over themselves and over chapters. But I love it and it’s very satisfying.

    • Hmmm…good point. I wonder if each particular storyline flows from scene to scene –it’s just that there’s three of them. My WIP actually has 3 storylines too, and that’s what I’m hoping to do. Mind if I ask what Pratchett novel you’re reading? I need more “3 storyline” research!

  2. This is just the kind of recommendation I need right now, Erin. I’ve always been a pantser, but after rewriting my entire last novel (fun though that was), I’ve been determined to be a little more planful about my next one. I’m definitely going to check out this book. (And I love your storyboard pic!)

  3. Love it! You are like “Yeah, I’ll do your stupid outline, but I’m doing it backwards! Suck it!” I think life needs lots of little rebellions like that.

  4. I am definitely a pantster. lol.

    You brought up really good points. If I’m having trouble with a story, I will often write a synopsis for what I want to happen in each chapter, which helps. But I try to stay away from doing that. (I think my second novel’s plot suffered because of that mistake.)

    I want to buy this book. If anything can help with my writing process, it’s worth it. Great post!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing. Working backwards is a great idea. I’m a ridiculous plotter. I start with a complete outline and go back and flesh it out more and more until I’m practically writing the story on the outline. Sometimes you hit a bump though, and this is a great change of approach. When stuck, always try to look at your MS in a different way. Thanks!

  6. What an excellent post! As a fellow pantser, I find outlining frightening at best, but I’d like to try it sometime. Outlining backwards isn’t as scary, and it seems whole lot more logical. (I am all about logic). Because you liked that book, you may want to check out “Backwards and Forwards” which is about analyzing plays by reading them backwards. It’s a very similar concept!

  7. Whenever I’ve outlined in the past, I’ve ended up not writing the book because I started to feel bored, so I consider myself a total pantser. But, I really like this idea of outlining backwards, especially the way you did it, after already writing a beginning spontaneously. I’ll have to check this book out and give it a try – thanks for the recommendation!

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