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How Much Detail to Include in an Outline?

How Much Detail to Include in an Outline?

Recently, I worked on an outline for the story of Radlyn Games’ new project. I first did a version where I zoomed in on the story, describing in detail the events and flow of what the player would experience. I wrote similar outlines for both personal projects and for Bifrost: Through the Realms, but this kind of outline was not what we needed at this moment in development. On a project like Bifrost, we were able to do an outline with lots of detail first because it was not a story focused game. There were overall less complicated story beats to account for, so starting with greater detail made sense.

The project I’m working on at Radlyn Games is a story focused experience, so beginning with just plot beats makes more sense. I decided to rework the outline, this time focusing on high level milestones and plot structure. This version of the outline is much easier to make sense of and makes the flow of the story more understandable. Once the team agrees on these big beats, I can make a more detailed outline with character descriptions and deeper plot detail. I’m lucky enough to have teammates who give me suggestions and feedback on the first outline, and without that we would probably be bogged down in too many details, too early in development.

Sometimes you have to start small so you can tackle the big things easier down the road!

See you next time!