Idea Inception: Outlining and the Future of Writing


My favorite part of writing might be outlining. Not actually creating a formal outline, but the moment I first hatch the idea and jot notes down. It’s more like free-writing. The ideas come to me rapidly, and I just try to get it all down as fast as I can. They come out of order: plot points, characters, action scenes, settings… My mind naturally sculpts the ideas into stories with three acts: a beginning, middle, and end. In a half-hour, I could have a page or two—and it may look like a mess—but it’ll contain the structure of an entire screenplay/novel. I can see the entire story in my head like a movie. My mind fills in the gaps between the scenes. It feels complete. I don’t even need to write it—other than to share it with other people.

That’s the hard part. Trying to turn the pure creative vision in my head into a physical form that others can experience. I can create a full movie in my mind in less than an hour, but to write it out for others takes months or even years, between the writing, editing, rewriting, and querying. I have dozens of “mind movies” like these in outline form, but I don’t have the time to actually write them all.

Of course, when I write a story out, lots of changes are made, and new discoveries are found along the way. The plot and characters become richer as they’re fleshed out. But it’s never more exhilarating (for me) than the inception of the idea and initial outlining phase. Everything is new and exciting and things click together.

I think the “writing” process could be more like that in the future. If and when we upload our minds and/or merge with artificial intelligence, we could imagine a story in our heads then instantly copy and share that imagined vision with another person. Essentially directly transfer thoughts and visions inside our minds into others’. It will be the purest form of communication.

Today when writing, I try as best I can to capture the vision inside my head and put it into words on paper, (or attempt to recreate it in video form as a movie) but I can never capture the entirety of the vision exactly as it was inside my head. Something is always lost in translation.

But maybe someday in the future, we can communicate directly mind-to-mind, and share the purest visions of our art.

3 thoughts on “Idea Inception: Outlining and the Future of Writing

  1. Pingback: Where Do You Get Your Ideas? | T.Z. Barry

  2. Pingback: The Future of Screenwriting | T.Z. Barry

  3. Pingback: Is My Idea a Short Story or Novel? | TZ Barry

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