How It Works

Overview

At Lynit, we break a story's structure into three major parts:
Story Elements are the characters, arcs, events, themes, etc, that each play a particular role in creating an engaging story.
These elements are often summarized in a document or note cards.
Connections represent the relationships between tha various Story Elements that are consistent throughout the story.
Outlining Arcs and Characters are about specifying in which chapters these elements progress. It is as much about the journey as the destination.

Story Elements

Arcs
Move a situation forward in a specific order. Often a question is posed such as, "Will the main character achieve their goal despite a particular challenge?" Or a problem is presented and the implied question is, "Will the Main Character resolve the problem despite a particular challenge?"
Characters
The force that drives the story, and why the reader is emotionally engaged. Main characters also have an internal growth arc that progresses forward in a specific order. It's important to remember that characters grow by living through and making decisions along arcs. If you don't know how characters will react to the events of your story, than it is difficult to know how they will grow and change
Events
Events capture all the important actions of the story. Like characters, events can progress arcs forward as well.
TS&M
Themes, settings, motifs
These are concepts that are consistent throughout the story, whether it is the world bible, a theme of "love conquers all", or symbolic imagery that repeats throughout the story.
Chapter
Chapters are where the story takes place, and the way that the story is divided or organized.

Create as many of these elements as you need. They don't need to be fully fleshed out when you just starting to outline. We recommend starting with the elements you are the most excited about, the reason you are writing this story.

Connections

Connections describe the reletionships between Story Elements that remain static as the story progresses. Describe familial relationships, how the setting influences a character's mental state, or ever how a morif feeds into a theme. You can connect characters to characters, events to arcs, themes to characters, or any combination you want.
From one writer to another

Outlining Tip #1

    Connecting characters to Events and TSMs is the quickest way to add depth to their personality. Be mindful of the key aspects of society that shaped the environment the characters grew up in. It may be details about how social status is structured, what growing up in a rural town was like, or how magic made life easy for them. The trick is to capture how these different elements affect the character, and dive deeper into their opinions on it. A character will be in harmony with certain things and in direct contrast to others. These nuances will make them come alive on the page.

Outlining Arcs and Characters

When you create either an Arc or Characters, they will appear in the Arc Timeline. This is where you are able to outline how the arc or character progresses from chapter to chapter. Before you can outline the arcs however, you must create chapters, first. New chapters will show up in the Arc Timeline as white dots until they are outlined for a specific arc and change to the yellow chapter icon. Arcs may start and finish in different chapters as well as progress through the stages of Exposition, Rising Action, Resolution, etc, at different speeds.

Arc Drivers

If you are outlining an arc, you should add arc drivers to specify which characters and events drive the arc in each chapter. Not only will you be able to keep track of the important players in your arcs, but when you Dive Deep into any elements that is an Arc Driver, you will be able to see that information highlighted.
From one writer to another

Outlining Tip #2

    As you think about your characters and arcs, you have to decide where to begin the outlining process. Start with the arc that is most prominent in your mind's eye. What is the big question of your story? Whatever it is, it should be progressed in every chapter. Outlining this first will give your story a backbone for the other arcs to follow. Then repeat the arc outlining process for all the arcs you have created. If you haven't already, combine the different actions that happen in each arc into the summary for each chapter. As you move from chapter to chapter focus on how the arcs fit together vs just listing the different plot points. You should be able to read the summary as a cohesive snippet. Keep in mind that these summaries do not need to be perfect as they will likely change as you iterate over the story, but they will set a strong foundation for the narrative.

Capture ideas for future changes with Notes

As you are writing, you will formulate new ideas. This can be everything from a scene to write, an event to reform, to a character to delete. Jot down these new ideas as notes. Not only can you capture a quick idea on the go, but you can link it to your outline so that you never lose track of it.

Writing is a process. It is iterative by nature.Remember to have patience with yourself as you write, rewrite, learn, and adapt. We’ve all been through it, but now Lynit is here to be a companion along the way.

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