Stories on the edge of familiarity

Awful Story Outlines (That Made it into Stories), Part 2

Not too long ago, I shared all the actual outlines of the planned story arcs for Kara the Brave (my webcomic). Today, I thought it’d be terrible helpful/entertaining to share the outlines for some of my stories that are actually now published in their entirety.

The Illuminated Heart

To be entirely honest, I wrote the outline for this one after I’d started writing it. I know. I’m really, really bad at this. Here’s the outline:

Part One: God Has Left Me (ki)
Chapter One: Funeral (ki)
Chapter Two: In My Father’s House (sho)
Chapter Three: An Invitation (ten)
Chapter Four: Not Afraid (ketsu)

Part Two: At the Bear’s Mercy (sho)
Chapter Five: Good Riddance (ki)
Chapter Six: Homespun and Home Made (sho)
Chapter Seven: My Mother Worries (ten)
Chapter Eight: A Drop of Candle Wax (ketsu)

Part Three: The Four Winds and What They Said (ten)
Chapter Nine: Finding East Wind (ki)
Chapter Ten: Neither West nor South (sho)
Chapter Eleven: The Riddle (ten)
Chapter Twelve: Foxfire (ketsu)

Part Four: Behind the Light (ketsu)
Chapter Thirteen: Draugur Queen (ki)
Chapter Fourteen: The Daughter’s Weakness (sho)
Chapter Fifteen: Christian Men (ten)
Chapter Sixteen: Brought to Life (ketsu)

Yes. I literally just wrote out all the chapter titles and reminded myself which act of the kishotenketsu narrative structure each one was meant to fit into (not sure how well I managed that in the end). No, I don’t know how this in any way constitutes an outline.

Dreaming of Her and Other Stories

Out of all the stories in this collection, only one got a written outline, and that’s the last one (‘What is the River?’). Since that outline contains spoilers, it won’t be included. What is included is what I would have written down of what I’d had in my head before writing these stories, followed by a score of how well the outlines convey essential story elements. Behold the awfulness (outlines with spoilers are omitted. Also: WARNING, OBSCURE HUMOUR AHEAD):

Only Death
A bird sitting in a metal frame.

Plot: 0
Protagonist: 1?
Antagonist: 0
Setting: 0.1
Hook: metal
Total Score: Featherbrained.

Mr Morkub
An alien who forgot his name.

Plot: 0.5
Protagonist: 1
Antagonist: forgetting?
Setting: (hopefully implied)
Hook: extraterrestrial
Total Score: I forget.

In Plain Sight
Robots that have no idea how flying works.

Plot: ????
Protagonist: >1
Antagonist: ignorance?
Setting: +0
Hook: aerial
Total Score: Why?

Dreaming of Her
A boulder rolling down to squish me.

Plot: lame
Protagonist: 1
Antagonist: 1
Setting: 0
Hook: weighted
Total Score: Gravel.

New Life
Robot plant.

Plot: 0
Protagonist: Schrödinger’s 1
Antagonist: Anti-Schrödinger’s 1
Setting: future?
Hook: bad for fishing
Total Score: Dead.

Swallow Troubles
A man who swallowed a swallow.

Plot: ouch
Protagonist: 1
Antagonist: 1
Setting: unimportant?
Hook: eaten
Total Score: Indigestible.

The Search
A bird travels across the globe, looking for something.

Plot: 1
Protagonist: 1
Antagonist: 0
Setting: 1
Hook: global
Total Score: Missing.

Machine
(no outline)

Total Score: ∅

Glass
Everyone wears glasses.

Plot: 0
Protagonist: 1? >1? <1?
Antagonist: (see protagonist)
Setting: weird
Hook: i
Total Score: Nearsighted.

Elf-Touched
Insane person in Artlind during the second Immortal Summit. Use the words arthritic, tether, lodestone, (two more I forgot).

Plot: +0?
Protagonist: 1?
Antagonist: 1?
Setting: Artlind?
Hook: ?
Confusion: ∞

Why They’re Awful

None of these give any idea of where the story’s going, what the point of it all is, or anything like that. Plots are weak. Characters, too. Setting is laughably absent. And yet, they got me asking questions, good questions, questions that eventually turned into stories worth reading. Stories that you can read and treasure and that can live beyond their awful beginnings. Every good thing starts out unformed, after all, and we all need that reminder from time to time.

Plus, it’s fun to laugh.

If you’ve read these books, I hope you found this enlightening. I wouldn’t be surprised if you never bought any of my books again, based on my only-too-apparent lack of organization. Perhaps you could leave a review or two for the unprepared? Or just avoid eye contact and sidestep past the next time we walk by each other. That works, too.

If you haven’t read either of the above books, and now you’re repulsed curious, they’re here:

The Illuminated Heart: Kindle. Kobo. Paperback.
Dreaming of Her and Other Stories: Kindle.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.