Monday, April 12, 2010

To Outline Or Not To Outline

Happy Monday All,

I might have touched on this before, but it's been on my mind lately due to a story I'm working on and it's come up more lately, too.

There's been things I've read or heard about the pros and cons of outlining or not outlining.

With outlining the pro is you sort out your ideas...you get it out on paper and you can brainstorm in a more tangible way. You make the changes you want and it's all there for you in some concrete form. A con is, if you look at the outline and can't figure out how to begin.

When not outlining you play with several ideas and just start off with an idea and begin writing right away. That's the pro. The con is, if you don't have enough of the story playing about in your head you could end up writing yourself in a corner.

Of course, there's always the combination of the two.

What it all boils down to is what works for you. What helps you write at your best. What gets your juices flowing and your ideas simmering.

On another bend...if you're writing a series and outline can help you keep up with the characters and know who is who and what they did.

When I was writing Surreal I didn't have an outline, but I did pick up important dates or people and set up pages where I could pull it up real fast if I needed to know something and didn't want to search for it. But I did that while I was writing the story.

With this other story I'm writing I actually have an outline that I've changed about three times and re started the story about 3 times as well. I've got the idea, but the concrete forming of it takes time. Things are beginning to take shape, though and I like dreaming things up (for me that's part of the fun of writing).

So...what works for you?

Have A Marvelous Monday!


Marsha Sigman said...

I've done it both ways and I think it really depends on the story. The outline helped me a lot with my last ms but I did change it a few times.

Bethany said...


Yeah. That's one of the good things about outlines, can change them as needed! :-)