Friday, July 13, 2012



Virgil was no ordinary man. He had once fought alongside some of the world’s greatest heroes and saved entire cities from destruction. But after violently killing a young suspect, he was left on the wrong side of the law. Rather than be locked up, he opted to have the source of his powers removed, and to live out the rest of his days in his hometown watching the world go by without him.

Five years later, he had settled into his new life. Until one night, when he heard a kidnapped girl’s screams and came to her rescue. Reinvigorated by the experience, Virgil decides to become his city’s lone vigilante, even though he no longer has his power. But as he will soon learn, every action has a consequence and his world may very well crumble down around him.


How To Write By The Seat Of Your Pants:
Outline or No?

The answer to this question really depends on a) what kind of writer you are, and b) what kind of project you’re working on.

First, you need to consider the type of writer you are. Some writers are rather meticulous. They need to feel as if they know exactly where a story is going, down to every last detail. They’ll want to know the precise order of scenes, what happens to each character in every moment long before they write it, every little nuance of what is to occur while the plot unfolds, etc. Other writers, on the other hand, like the idea of letting the story flow from within them once they know the basics of the plot. Perhaps they know the beginning, part of the middle, and the end. Just not every tiny bit of minutiae.

Second, you must think about the story you’re writing. Some stories require much more structure than others. For example, if you are writing a crime novel, where clues and hints are peppered throughout the story in nearly ever scene, leading to a big reveal, then you will probably want to outline as much of the story as possible. However, some stories – although, arguably, not as many – require that you write without a huge amount of direction. This can help you to write outside the box and let things flow naturally. For example, when I wrote my first novel, Patient Zero, from the point-of-view of a zombie virus, I didn’t plan out what “he” would say beforehand. I just let it flow. This may especially be true if, as in my case, the story is being told from a first person perspective. It may very well seem more realistic that way.

All that being said, there is no simple answer, nor is there a right or wrong answer. Personally, I’ve run the whole gamut of outlining. I’ll write one project where every storyline and character beat are sketched out in great detail, and then I’ll turn around and write a story with zero outlining. Just do what you feel is right for you and your story.

About Jim Beck 

Jim Beck is a freelance writer and produced screenwriter who resides in Burbank, California with his loving wife, rambunctious son, and cute little dog named Monster. He has written for Cartoon Network’s Pink Panther & Pals, produced a short zombie film and independent feature film that was recently selected for Sundance, and is currently awaiting the release of his first direct-to-dvd creature feature. 

Jim’s screenplays have placed very high (and in some cases, won) in contests conducted by Cinescape Magazine, Project Greenlight, Acclaim TV, Acclaim Film, and Writer’s Boot Camp, among several others. In the case of Writer’s Boot Camp, he was awarded a one year writer’s fellowship to develop future projects.

Jim runs his own website ( and has self-published two full novels,Patient Zero and Virgil: A Superhero Tale. He is currently prepping his third and fourth, a supernatural story called Beneath and his own unique take on the classic Jekyll & Hyde tale. He is also the creator of two ongoing TV In Prose series, Alter Ego and Pest Control, which are books given the television treatment, split into seasons and episodes.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies, having open-heart surgery (though it was not his choice), playing video games, and searching the universe hoping to find more spare time.

You can find out more about him and his work at

Thanks for that guest post Jim


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