To Outline or Not to Outline: That is the question.

I have seen many different points of view regarding the subject of outlining.  They are like a reader when they write. They follow the story as it comes out of their mind, living through their characters and not knowing where the story is going to end or how it is going to finish. Then there are the structured writers. The writers who like to plan out every detail to ensure they have enough material to finish the story and to make sure they can get everything they want in the manuscript to fit. Just because there is some structure to the story, these authors have no easier job in writing their novel then the authors that fly by the seat of their pants.

The question of whether to outline brings about more questions as to what type of writer are you. Mike Owens of WinePress Publishing breaks down authors into three categories: The Procrastinator, the Logical Writer, and the Creative Type.

The Procrastinator needs an outline to ensure the work is done in time. The outline can help keep this type of author on task and focused on the novel. It might even spur ideas that you hadn’t planned on sticking in the book. If you have trouble finding the time to write, you need to structure it into your schedule and create an outline to keep that book flowing. If you decide from the outline that the book isn’t what you wanted it to be, you can start over. However, make sure that you push through your first book and get moving, otherwise you’ll stall and end up writing nothing at all.

The Logical Writer is the person that not only outlines their books, but they have an outline to everything in life. They are always thinking three or four steps ahead and need everything written down to keep they’re current thoughts moving. This type of writer’s outline will keep things flowing as his/her mind can focus on what is currently happening in the story and where the story will eventually end up.

The Creative Type are the types of writers that I was talking about in the beginning. These authors don’t outline, they fly by the seat of their pants to work out what the story is going to do and where the characters are going to take it. They enjoy not knowing what is coming next because they can build it into whatever it needs to be. A lot of authors that follow this method can be shocked by some things their characters say and do. The Creative Type can find that the outline can limit their creativity and get in the way of what they are trying to do. I would suggest just letting the words come off your fingers and keep writing. Don’t even think about an outline.

In the end it does come down to personal preference. Whatever works best for you and keeps you writing. I personally use a combination of the two. I enjoy outlining as I go along, but I normally start writing before my outline is finished. That way I do know what is coming in the long run, but I don’t have to know everything up front. I can take my start and build in the direction that feels right, while having a structure to follow to ensure everything I want in the story is entered.

Next week I hope to have actually been able to do some time researching a website, Wattpad, that I stumbled upon last week. My dayjob kept me too busy last week to allow much time to research. I also have plans in the near future to start letting out my new short story, Runaway King, on the blog for everyone to enjoy.

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One thought on “To Outline or Not to Outline: That is the question.

  1. Hi Gilliad! I am a combination of the Procrastinator and the Creative Type. I don’t do outlines because…well I procrastinate. But I am a creative type in that I don’t like to know where the story is going before I get there! I like my characters to surprise me. Nice post!

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