Monday, October 18, 2010

Outline vs. No Outline

I read a tweet the other day in which the tweeter asked if anyone else created their outline only after they had written their work. I wondered how many people actually do this. For me that is only a problem. I like knowing where my book is going. It keeps me more focused.

I tend to spend more time actually writing than worrying about what to write and if it will work when I have an outline. Of course, my outline is fluid. It is a mere path by which I tend to stray from occasionally. And for me that is alright.

However, the more I have pondered this topic over the last several days. I have begun to wonder if I could write a novel without creating an outline first. As I've said in an earlier post I use note cards for my outline. I think if I write a novel without an outline, I may have to create it as I go. I like to go back and forth between negative/positively charged scenes. I don't know any other way to keep it all together and organized. Without the organization I fear I will fail miserably. Although, maybe it will be my best story ever.

What are your thoughts on outlining?


  1. Was that my tweet? Because I've been talking about my post-completion outlining lately.

    When I write, I have the general story plan in my head. It's mostly who the main character is, what the conflict is, and where this all happens. But as for the specifics, I can't see them until I write them.

    I sit down and write each scene as it comes to me. Usually, my stories are linear so I just imagine the characters and the scene and think: What would happen? Then I write it down. I only outline after to get a better look at the whole, see what works, what doesn't, etc.

  2. I was so obsessed with my outlining and convinced that I couldn't write my novel without one it was ridiculous. lol But, now that I am working on a second novel without outlining I'm realizing that I should have probably done my first novel without one as well.

    I also recently came across a blog by a published author who suggests that until you know how you write and what's best for you not to create an outline at first.

    I wish I had come across her blog before I wrote my initial novel outline. It may have saved my novel. I think when I go back to it I will just write and work without an outline.