The Open Outline experiment
I’ve started a new thing on my Patreon, and I’m calling it Open Outline – part of my push to grow my page and my fan-base, but also a way to play with writing. Also, my patrons are a great crowd, and it looked like a good idea to try and harness their smarts to my advantage.
The Open Outline works like this: on the first of the month, I post the start of a story, roughly the first page or so.
During the following week, my patrons are invited to play with it – ask questions, sure, but also offer hypotheses about what’s going on, about where the story is going. They can suggest details about the characters or the setting.
At the end of the week, the best suggestions go into the story outline, and I add a brief treatment, explaining what I’m going to do with the story, and then we start round two – given what we’ve decided is going to happen… then, what next?
And then again.
By the end of the month, I’ll have a set of story notes I’ll be able to use to write a short story, that I’ll then post to my Patrons, giving all the participants a nice round of applause.
And then we’ll move to the next story.
Many of those that follow me on Patreon have some sort of interest in writing and storytelling, and I hope they’ll like the idea of playing with me. The others can just enjoy the show, and then read the story.
And to me this is a great exercise – because it means working with ideas that are new, different and fresh, and without a set target or destination.
As I said in a comment here somewhere, it’s good to keep busy – it keeps the blues away.