That dastardly outline.

And our last tip for those aspiring writer types out there is…the value of an outline. Gasp! Oh no! I heard a bunch of folks clicking off this blog. I’m not suggesting a detailed, blow by blow, point by point outline is the way to go. I’m merely suggesting that, since time is short and your writing time may be sporadic, an outline of the major plot points might help keep you on track. Just a few notes onpencils the main events in your story, the climax and the solution. Really, not anything too terribly elaborate, but enough to jog the memory. My publishers require a detailed synopsis of a book before they contract it, so really an outline makes that synopsis much easier to put together. I know many writers are true “pansters,” meaning that they want to write without scripting or doing heavy outlining. I admire this approach, but I don’t think it lends itself to finishing a project for the beginning writer. (All right. It’s just an opinion, feel free to disagree all you pansters.)

So what do you think? Is outline a dirty word for you, or do you see the value in it? Giving away an Amazon gift card this month.


4 responses to this post.

  1. I’m not published yet, but I can definitely appreciate the value of an outline. I’ve made a few false starts in the absence of an outline in the past and regretted it. Thanks for the reminder, Dana, that–whether you’re a plotter, pantser or plotser–even the most basic story map can prove helpful. Blessings!



  2. I simply have to have some sort of plan and as you say, it isn’t totally detailed and locking the story in. There is always lots of room for organic developments, but still, there is a plan. I try to be creative about this planning – visuals and concept maps as well as written up outlines. My outlines are always changing and morphing as I go but I can’t possibly go without them.



    • Great, Francis. Kind of like a connect the dots puzzle, we’ve got the dots but how we wind up connecting them is the fun part. (And, perhaps, adding and taking away dots as necessary! )

      Sent from my iPad




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