I love Writer’s Digest, and I really, really like the guest columns that Brian Klems will often feature in his corner of the WD world: The Writer’s Dig. He’s thoughtful, funny, and always seems to show up just when I need him. Would that make him a superhero? In my world, I guess, but you’d have to determine that for yourself…
Just like whether or not you’d like to outline your novel. You don’t have to, of course, but it is one way to get the proverbial ducks to align without worrying about missing one or two details . . . er . . . ducks? along the way. Now, this is coming from a dyed-in-the-wool, to-the-letter Virgo who makes to-do lists for her to-do lists. I write down the money I owe for my monthly bills in three different places to make sure I don’t miss any due dates, but I almost never outline a novel once I start writing it. I have a line, a scene, or even just a character with a loose idea of the plot and start. It’s the only place in my mostly structured life that I can actually kinda let loose and fly by the seat of my pants, which might explain why I put my money-making efforts into reading books for a living and not publishing them.
Having said all of that, here is the article from the brilliant K.M. Weiland hosted by Brian Klems and Writer’s Digest.
Mention the word outline in a room full of writers, and you’re sure to ignite a firestorm of passionate debate. Writers either love outlines, or they hate them. We either find them liberating, or we can’t stand how confining they are.
My experience has been that more often than not, those who swear they dislike outlines are thinking of them in the wrong ways. Outlines are not meant to trap you into preset ideas or sap your creativity before you start the first draft. Outlines are also definitely not meant to be lifeless Roman-numeral lists.