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Precautionary Measures: Outline

Not too long ago, daasgrrl hosted an interesting post about the writing process for long fics. By chance, I just stumbled upon the outline of Precautionary Measures that I had emailed to my beta. Written scenes are in regular typeface and unwritten scenes are in italics. As is typical for me, the end was finished long before the beginning!

Brennan and Booth in town to consult with a colleague at Princeton (on a current case?). Feels ill, probably vomits and collapses; Booth brings her to the ER at PPTH.

Act I:
S1: House brings the case to the team; differential = malaria, dengue, typhoid.
S2: The Cottages meet Brennan & Booth.
S3: Gossip in the lab.
S4: Lunch with Wilson.
S5: Chase meets Angela & Hodgins and gets a scare (Brennan’s first seizure).

Act II:
S1: House’s office, same day. New diagnosis = cysticercosis.
S2: That evening. House and Cuddy and/or Sam and Wilson. Brennan’s book.
S3: That evening. Angela and Hodgins drive back to DC.
S4: Next morning at the Jeffersonian. Cam is angry with Angela.
S5: House meets Brennan.
S6: House tells Cottages that Brennan wants to jump his bones. (For a particular line to work, House needs to have had a run-in with Booth earlier on.)

Act III:
S1: Hodgins tells Cam. Wendell overhears. Angela is annoyed that Hodgins shared their secret.
S2: House’s office. Patient’s symptoms are worse. It could be syphilis.
S3: Patient’s room. Brennan denies dating Booth. House denies dating Wilson. Booth gets pissed off on Brennan’s behalf.
S4: Wilson tells House to spend less time with Brennan. House deduces his secret.
S5: Cuddy and House have a conversation about birth control.

Act IV:
S1:Next morning. Brennan seems better, fever has gone down, but then trigeminal sensory neuropathy appears. Could be a brain tumor.
S2: Wilson calls for an MRI, but Brennan flips out during the scan.
S3: She’s having anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations. They keep her restrained and partially sedated. Booth stays at her side.
S4: Sweets finds House in his office and deduces his secret.
S5: Sweets advises Booth re: Brennan.

Act V:
S1: Night. Cuddy tells House he still needs to do his duty.
S2: Morning. Cam meets Cuddy, another professional single mother with troublesome employees.
S3: House has an epiphany in the clinic.
S4: The mystery is revealed.
S5: House explains when Brennan is feeling better.

Act VI (Epilogue):
S1: Brennan invites House to the bar.
S2: Squints swap war stories. House deduces Hodgins’ secret.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2016 11:13 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I appreciated seeing this! But... o.m.g. Would you mind saying how many words this ended up being in total? I took a look, but couldn't see it. The way I work, that outline is a work of art, but almost like writing the fic by the time you've done it *g*

Thanks for sharing!
Jan. 27th, 2016 02:04 am (UTC)
This particular fic ended up being about 16,000 words, and I've written considerably longer ones. But I think the fact that it was a medical casefile made it much more complicated to plot, thus the need for a detailed outline.

Also, I am giggling now as I read the teaser placeholder since the actual scene turned out to be quite different - in fact, it was an inspired Housian double fake-out :).

Jan. 27th, 2016 10:06 am (UTC)
Oh this is great to see! But how can you write later scenes first? I have a very hard time doing that in terms of character development, I need to go through the whole story along with the character in order for it to develop naturally. Do you just have in your head how they'll be? Or are you working towards a certain scene?
Jan. 27th, 2016 01:41 pm (UTC)
The short answer is... I don't know, that's just the way it works for me! I have no idea how anyone can start from the beginning and write through to the end without having to go back and make a lot of major changes!

But basically, yes, I'm usually working towards a certain scene at the end. It's like writing a murder mystery: first think of the solution, then write the story to introduce the scenario and plant the clues. If I know where the characters are going, then I can brainstorm the best ways to get them there.

Also, specific scenes and sections of dialogue usually come to me while I'm doing other things, so I write them in the order in which they occur to me, rather than in the order in which they occur in the final story.

I was thinking that maybe this is easier with fanfic because I already know how the characters behave in general... but right now I'm writing an original story, and I'm finding that although it's more difficult, my method is essentially the same. I have the last scene and the first scene and some bits in the middle :P.
Jan. 27th, 2016 03:08 pm (UTC)
I'm guessing it's just one of those 'this is how it works for me' things? I could never pull that off, especially for an original story! I do find it very intriguing seeing a glimpse of everyone elses methods :)
Jan. 27th, 2016 01:54 pm (UTC)
Well, this sounds fantastic -- and chock-full of secrets to deduce. Naturally. :)
Jan. 28th, 2016 12:57 am (UTC)
Hee, I just reread my own fic because I couldn't remember what all of the secrets actually were...
Jan. 28th, 2016 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, we do work differently! That outline is so detailed, just...wow. For the two fantasy novels I wrote,they had to have solid comic plots with a lot of complications, so for those I wrote full outlines. I had come pretty far with the outline for the third, Bloodsuckers of 1933 when my editor got fired and that was it for the series. They were so hard to write I wouldn't write another one unless I was paid for it.

How's the original story going?
Jan. 30th, 2016 03:42 am (UTC)
That's why, the plot was too complicated for me to manage without a detailed outline.

Were you... not paid for the first two?

The original story is going slowly - there is so much backstory and context to imagine even though the story itself is very short. I keep changing my mind about so many things...
Jan. 29th, 2016 10:06 pm (UTC)
Huh. I don't think I ever saw this story, and what an outline!

My process is a lot messier than this, and ... usually involves Nightdog, because it turns out I'm usually happiest as a collaborator. But the writing-later-parts-first? Happens a lot. Things get mushy in the middle and have to be sorted out.
Jan. 30th, 2016 03:39 am (UTC)
I collaborated a lot on this fic, and on Regarding House as well - that is, I did all of the actual writing, but it was very helpful to brainstorm with someone else and get a lot of feedback along the way.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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