Thursday, May 12, 2011

Where I find myself becoming an outlining writer

This post was originally made on Thursday, but when blogger went down so did this post.

There are all kinds of writers in the world. Two of types are those who do outline and those who do not. Until recently, I found myself in the not outlining writers. At school, when teachers would say, "Write an outline and hand it in with your final draft," I would write my paper and then make an outline based off of what I had written to turn in to my teacher. I didn't like outlines, I thought they were a waste of my time. I just wanted to write, because I knew where I was going, and through a story I'd come up with some brilliant subplot which would make the whole outline pointless.

And now, for my WIP, I wrote an outline. Due to a bit of juggling that will occur due to plot elements, I was having trouble focusing where I wanted to go. So I sat down and made a list of the events I wanted to happen, then placed them in chapter by chapter as what would be the best way to construct the plot. Now that I'm moving along my WIP, there have been changes to my outline. Which is totally cool. Outlines are flexible, which for some reason in my teenage brain, it hadn't gotten through. That's something I think is so great about writing, the flexibility of it all. But now I think outlines provide a focus and organize a writer's cluttered mind.

What are everyone else's thoughts on outlines?


  1. I always outline, and the end product is never like the outline I started with. I think a lot of people like the romantic notion of starting at a blank page and just going for it, but it's not an easy thing to follow through to the end.

  2. I like outlines, it makes thhe blank page much less scary. But I also love straying from them! It's just nice to have some kind of map.

  3. Outlines are extreeeeemely important to me. I find if I outline a basic idea of my story, I stay more focused. True, since it is an outline it is very flexible, and characters when they come alive tend to go their own paths, but still, having an outline helps me out a lot!

  4. With my first novel, I did no outline. I just knew the conflict and let my characters lead the way. In the end, I ended up with a super high word count and had to cut a bunch of it out. No biggie, but this time around I'm doing a loose outline, and, like you say, being flexible about the sequence. I think I'll write a tighter novel because of it! Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. I can't do an outline to save my life. It's almost embarrassing. But I've learned to do one after first draft so at least I know what to do in revision. This is a huge step for me. Good luck!