Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A to Z - All Things Writing: Outlines

Welcome to the Blogging A to Z Challenge, where, this month, I'll be focusing on all things writing. This may be a random jumping around of topics within my theme, but hopefully something somewhere will be useful to someone. (V is for vague - see that last sentence.) Check out all the participants here . Now, lets get on with today's letter.

O is for Outlines

Some writers live for outlines others despise them as creative cages. I'm not an outline fan. I prefer to surprised and excited about where the story goes as I figure out it. It makes it easier for me to write in an engaging fashion if I'm interested in where the story is going just as much as the reader will be. That's just how my creative process works.

Outliners are more organized. Their rewriting process is probably a less extensive than mine because they knew where their story was going from the start. I tend to have to go back and add details or whole characters and scenes to properly set up later events.

You can outline to any degree. Again, there's not right or wrong way to do it. It could be as little as a short paragraph or a couple bullet points per chapter all the way to mapping out every scene.

So should you outline or not? There's no right or wrong answer. You'll have to find what works best for your writing process. If you've never tried an outline, give it a whirl. You might be converted to a plotter. If you write an outline and you find you've lost all will to write because the story lost it's creative magic, then outlining isn't for you.

Personally, I prefer the after-outline method as part of my rewriting/first edit process. Because I don't do one before I start the story, it is very helpful to do one after I have the rough draft in hand. I already have the words on the page, so I no longer feel hampered by having to stick with a plan. The after method gives me a good idea of where changes need to me made to make the plot flow better and to make the characters more active and add more tension. This outline is also the starting point for my synopsis, which we'll cover on S day. 

Do you outline?

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  1. Hi Jean - it's each to their own when we're writing ... finding our own style - yet I'm sure outlines are helpful to us all at times - cheers Hilary

  2. I'm definitely one of the outliners. The story tends to run away with me if I don't have a point to get to. Also, I like making outlines that have a rhythm or a design to them, or are somehow symmetrical :)

    The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales


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