Do outlines stifle creativity?

I’m feeling introspective today. Bear with me.

I feel that there are two types of book memories. There are the big memories, like a major plot point, where you look back and think, “Aw man, I never saw that coming, that was so cool!” And there are the little memories, like a line of dialogue you thought was so hysterical you fell off your bouncy ball laughing. Both are important, and both are necessary to create a great story.

I’ll tell you why I’ve been thinking about this. I’m always reading about writers who swear by their outlines. And they have a good point — how can you make sure you include everything you want to include in the story if you don’t have it written down? Unless your memory is unbelievably fantastic, in which case never mind. But I’ve tried making elaborate outlines, and here’s what happens: it becomes a plodding, paint by numbers exercise in soul-sucking futility, and while I hit all the big memories (the plot points), the little memories are much, much harder to come by.

Maybe it’s just me. I’m horribly disorganized anyway, so maybe outlines and I just don’t mix by default. But when I have an outline that I’m trying to turn into a story, I follow it step by step, doing exactly what it says, and I feel like I lose some of the spark that comes from just attacking a project with a handful of characters in your head, and a vague idea of where they’re going to end up.

So when I go back and look over what I’ve written, I’ve hit all the relevant plot points — oh boy, have I hit them. But that’s all the characters do. They’re so focused on getting from one pivotal scene to the next that they never stop to have fun, or say an amusing quip, or do something ridiculous, like have an impromptu game of laser tag and fall into a vat of space jelly.

I feel like outlines stifle me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. At the same time, I’m sure there are perfectly brilliant authors out there who use outlines all the time, and produce stunning pieces of literature. It probably just boils down to personal taste.

My personal strategy is to jot down very brief notes on what will happen in the story, and then make up the details as I go. For example, in Chasing NonconformityΒ (the sequel toΒ Imminent Danger), I know that the gang will head to the planet Chingu to retrieve something very valuable that they’ve misplaced. I have several plot points down for what they’ll do when they’re on the planet, but other than that, they can really get up to whatever the heck they want. At the moment, Eris has decided to go shoe shopping. And why not? I can always cut it out later if it doesn’t work with the flow of the story.

That’s the beauty of writing a book — you’re the author! You can write whatever you want, and you have no one to answer to except yourself! Well, and your fans. And your friends and family. And the general public. And reviewers. And the …

Maybe I should start that outline after all.


Unrelated media of the day:

I’ll be honest, I haven’t kept track of what I’ve posted under the Unrelated Media section, so I have no idea if I’ve shared this already. Oh well. Don’t watch it if you’ve already seen it! Or do watch it. Whatever floats your tiger-infested lifeboat.

In today’s unrelated media, Buzz Aldrin raps about how awesome it was to be an astronaut.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 99 Comments

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99 thoughts on “Do outlines stifle creativity?

  1. Kim

    “a plodding, paint by numbers exercise in soul-sucking futility …” Ha! Yes, that sounds like something you’ll want to avoid.

  2. I agree that outlines can feel restrictive. My publisher requires detailed outlines, so it’s not a choice really. They want to know the complete picture before they buy the story. Such is the way it goes, sometimes! πŸ™‚

    • Well, if it’s not a choice, then what can you do? And that totally makes sense for the publisher from a business standpoint. Unless your author is super famous and guaranteed to sell a million copies regardless of what they write, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into πŸ™‚

  3. inkspeare

    I feel the same way. I cannot outline the story, but I will use very short outlines as a general guide and to jot down possible scenarios and keep track of names, details … but not to confine the story.

  4. I’m with you all the way! I don’t get along with outlines at all, and even when I do take the time to outline, I rarely stick to what I’ve written. The only time I’ll outline is when I hit a road block and need some clear idea as to where I’m headed with the story. =]

    • Exactly. For example, Chasing Nonconformity needed a serious overhaul due to it not making sense. So I spent about an hour and a half writing all over a whiteboard (I think I wrote a post about that, actually), and figured out what was going to happen. It’s totally necessary when you don’t know what to do next.

  5. I don’t think there is one right way. To me it is a personal thing, we have to find what works best for us individually. I’m more like you, I find detailed outlines prohibitive. I can never write something on the scope of Game of Thrones but I don’t really want to. It just wouldn’t be fun for me.

    • I can’t even begin to imagine how George RR Martin comes up with his plots. They’re crazy detailed — yeah, it wouldn’t be fun for me either. It’s really interesting to read, but not something I would enjoy spending years of my life on.

  6. I think it’s just a personal thing. Apparently PD James outlined so carefully that she could write chapters in any order (something I’d never dare try). In fact most who dun it writers have to plot and outline with care. Other writers say they just start writing. So far I’ve written by the ‘start with only a vague idea of where it’s all going’ system. However I find this slow as I have to stop to work things out or backtrack and change previous scenes. For my next novel I’m going to try the careful outline approach.

    • That is definitely a problem with not outlining. You end up with a lot of inconsistencies and backtracking and whatnot. Did I ever mention that Varrin (the mercenary bad boy in my book) actually started off named Vallin, and I changed his name halfway through the book without noticing? LOL. Sometimes outlining has its uses πŸ˜€

  7. I’m with you, though I guess I’m kind of halfway between. I like to know my story, but I also like to leave room for surprises. If I want an outline (and I’ll usually have some notes, at least), I’ll write down major plot points and where I’d like things to end, but then I let my characters be themselves within that framework. I find that I don’t really know how they’ll react to things until I’m actually writing it all out; to have every tiny little detail plotted out definitely feels like boring work, and it also forces characters to behave in ways that aren’t believable for them.

    I’d much rather have to go back and change things than to have it all planned out and have the story be all flat and boring. I mean, we have to revise anyway… why not let the first draft be for exploring if that works for you?

    • Definitely! Of course, not outlining does mean you have to go back and do a lot of editing to fix up plot holes and whatnot. But I think it’s just more fun to write without an outline πŸ˜€ Although yes, having at least the major plot points in mind is important.

  8. I’m with you, I don’t work well with outlines. But Tim Powers, who I really admire, says that his outlines are so detailed that they run to tens of thousands of words. I think it’s just how different people work.

    • I used to do really detailed outlines in university when I wrote essays. The idea was, of course, that if your outline was detailed enough, all you had to do was add in the filler words and the essay was basically written.

  9. I think I swear by outlines. I have to see the framework of the story before I jump into it, I guess. If I don’t know what I am writing, nothing comes out.

    • Fair enough! Each to their own πŸ™‚ And I bet you never have to go back and restructure things because they make no sense, like I do. Constantly. Lol.

      • I don’t know. I still have to restructure. LOL – — the whole story just doesn’t come out without an outline. Its stuck in my brain. If I don’t have a path, I can’t even take the first step, or I will aimlessly free write. It’s probably that you are just better at staying on topic. LOL, I tend to stray…….<3

        • I’m awesome at staying on topic. I can write for hours and never deviate from the topic. It’s like these honey roasted peanuts that I’m eating. They’re delicious. They’re the perfect blend of crunchy and sweet. They kind of remind of me of sushi, which I get to eat in about an hour and a half. Salmon sushi is the best sushi, especially when it’s the spicy crispy roll kind. I can’t get enough of that stuff. I also can’t get enough of Modern Family. It’s hysterical, especially Gloria and her wonderful inability to pronounce basic English words.

          Where was I? Ah yes. Staying on topic. I’m awesome at staying on topic.

  10. Leila

    I’m a loosey-goosey outliner. Each point is a milestone with more than a few ways to get there. I need to know my beginning and my end, then let the characters take me to each step. Then again, I have a very talented friend who storyboards every step and it works for her.

    • And it differs based on genre too. Mystery writers, I’m sure, need to outline their stories — or else the right clues won’t show up at the right time. Whereas something a bit more free form doesn’t necessarily need to be so heavily plotted out.

  11. I scoff at the outline. I have to be organized in every other area of life. When I write, I just let it go πŸ™‚

  12. I think I had this conversation over the weekend with another blogger before it turned more into a talk about Saturday Morning Cartoons of the 80’s. Anyway, I think it depends on the author. Some require a detailed outline to help them focus and guide them. Others need nothing more than a few notes about the plot and a list of character names. My own method is to make detailed character bios and a structured outline, but I also accept that I’ll probably decimate that outline within the first 3 chapters.

    • Lol. I figure that’s what would happen to me if I ever sat down and really tried to follow an outline for more than a few chapters. I’d just get frustrated, chuck it, and write whatever the heck I wanted.

      • I wouldn’t say it’s frustrated. It’s just that when I start having the character work within the scene, I get a better idea of the actual events. So, things change to suit the fluid characters. For example, I have a scene that appeared out of nowhere with a dryad (tree fairy) trying to ask the main hero for some of his life-force, so she can create a child with it. It wasn’t in my outline, but it worked and came in handy for later in the book.

  13. I can understand the virtues of outlining, and the entire process has helped me see the importance of plotting when it comes to writing. With that being said, outlining can be incredibly stifling, especially for someone who prefers to write organically like I do. I think outlining works for a lot of writers, and why mess with what works, but, really, you have to let the story tell itself, and for me, that means getting the hell out of the way of the story.

    • It really does end up being what works best for you. My mother plans every second of her day. Every morning she walks into my room and says, “So, Michelle, what are your plans today?” My response is always, “I don’t know!!!” because I hate planning to a somewhat detrimental extent. Do you find that? Does the way you plan/organize in your day to day life translate to how you like to write?

      • I don’t like planning my day, either, even my work day. Nothing ever goes as planned, so I try not to plan much, unless I absolutely have to. Same goes with writing.

  14. I’m a big-time outliner, but it doesn’t constrict me. I start with something bare-boned, and then I take off and keep building on it, almost in story form. Any ideas I want I can add to it. Then, at the next go around, if something doesn’t work, I can take it out. But I find it easier to make sure I have all my plot points this way. On the other hand, some writers do beautifully flying by the seat of their pants (Stephen King). I think as you allude to, the important thing is that the author do what works for him or her; otherwise the process won’t be enjoyable.

  15. I’m in your camp, Michelle! I write down notes so I don’t forget important ideas, but the one time I tried to do a more detailed outline, my characters had a hissy fit and started doing their own thing anyway. Pantster all the way.

  16. It’s so interesting to me to see everyone’s comments on this. The great dilemma. πŸ™‚

  17. jessicaminyard

    I can understand the need for an outline — *cough*GRRM*cough* — but I personally have never used one. I figure out the main story goal and the journey of the main character and take off! I’ll jot down new characters and plot points as they pop up. Eventually, when I’m far enough into the story, I’ll write a synopsis or something, and that’s the extent of my planning.

    It’s a party. πŸ™‚

    • Love it! Writing should always be a party. Unless you’re writing about people dying or something, in which case writing should be more of a classy yet understated soiree.

  18. I’ve done it both ways now. My first book was outline-less, and it went fine. My second book has a very short outline – one-line point-form notes – and it’s also going fine. I do write faster with the outline. Or maybe I write faster because I’m a better writer this time around. Who’s to say? The bullet points help me keep track of what’s coming up, but I shift them around so much that the outline I’m working off of now looks nothing like what I started with. And since it’s so brief there’s lots of room for spontaneity and surprises that I didn’t see coming, causing me to change the outline again… My end goal is that there will hopefully be less editing because I’ll have things more organized the first time. πŸ™‚

    • That’s the dream, though. The more you write, the better you get at it, the less time it takes to edit. To quote my mother: “The first book took us seven years to finish. Think we can get the sequel done in half that time?” Me: “HA! No.”

      I am actually attempting to get my sequel done by the end of this year. I haven’t accomplished much since January, though, and that’s almost a quarter of the year gone, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

  19. Michelle
    Outlining to the nth degree DOES stifle – it’s as if the story has already been written and where;s the fun in writing it all over again? It’s almost like being handed an outline by a boss and being told to ‘finish that up, will you?’.
    I tried outlining my first novel using my ‘hour-by-hour’ spreadsheet – something that ensured that my characters were doing something (even if it was sleeping) for every hour of the six days of the story.
    It was very useful to me, but when I began to write from it, my characters acted like teenagers with an unsavoury school timetable – they were in the right places at the right times, but they misbehaved, threw things and generally had fun.
    Yet when I peeked, they always seemed to be working away….odd, that.
    One small example; ‘Michael and Sara discuss their next move in a coffee shop. When they leave, Sara finds an injured woman in the street and refuses to leave her. Michael agrees to guard her.’ Bit dull, but that was the outline.
    When I wrote it in full Pantsmode the pair end up running for their lives and slamming straight into their next adventure, which is to find the injured woman at death’s door. They have to save her because only she knows the whereabouts of a kidnapped child, the key to stopping Hell destroying Heaven.
    So outline by all means, but keep it loose, sister. Make sure your characters have something to do that day, but let them have their head – let them party!
    Sorry – that was almost a novel in itself… :/

    • I greatly enjoyed your story πŸ™‚ Bravo, sir! It was indeed like reading a novel. A very short novel with incorrectly indented paragraphs. And no table of contents! SHAME!

      Right. Outline, but keep it loose. I like it. That’s pretty much what I’m doing right now with the Imminent Danger sequel. I know where they’re going, and I know why they’re going, but I don’t know much beyond that. Well, I mean, I know, but my computer doesn’t know because I haven’t typed it yet. But the computer has the outline in its databrain. So maybe it’s my fingers that don’t know? Of all the body parts, I’ve found that fingers are the most foolish. Ask for a carrot, they’ll bring you a paperclip. Useless.

  20. Devon Lynn

    Thank you for this post! I run into the same issue. When I do an outline, I tend to lose the spark. the characters’ actions become less about them and more about point A to point B to C and so on, and so the work becomes plot driven rather than character driven. the whole darn thing gets a little boring. And if it’s boring to the writer, it’s definitely going to be boring to the reader.

    What’s worked for me is to do a sort-of outline of major plot points, inlcuding little notes of what I *think* characters should do within those parts of the story, but I’m certainly not married to the outline or the notes. I use it more just to organize my thoughts. And if my characters don’t like the organization, well, it can be changed.

    • It’s really all about the characters, isn’t it? And you can tell, when you’re writing, if the characters aren’t being themselves. And that’s when you stop, say, “Wait, this isn’t how this should be,” and then compensate by throwing a random curve ball at them to shake things up.

  21. I think it has been covered by everyone here already, but I’ll throw in my 2 cents anyway! I feel that it IS important to have an idea where you’re going–I’ve tried the whole, I-know-the-characters-and-the-main-plot-now-let’s-just-write! approach, but unsurprisingly it went down in flames pretty quickly. You end up with over 50% of what you’ve written being complete time-wasting BS, and it’s kind of depressing to realize that less than half of what you’ve made is useful in the long run. Plus, the story eventually puttered to a halt under the weight of all of the inconsistencies. However, I know what you mean about over-planning, though, because I’ve done that, too–I might have mentioned an entire school full of children in my organizing post?–where, after all of that planning, I just wasn’t in to the story anymore.
    BUT, this time I seem to have gotten it right. I have the basic idea of where I want to go, major plot bits, but everything is kind of loose and open to change. As I’ve written I’ve invented characters who weren’t in the original outline, and my characters have done things that I didn’t plan, but hopefully that will be OK in the end. And every time I stop writing and go about my daily life, my brain is constantly picking away, coming up with new problems that I have to solve and new directions to take the story that weren’t in my original outline. Sometimes I take note of these things, especially if they’re things I have to add in later or hint at, but usually they just happen while I’m writing.

    Also, Eris–good choice! I love shoes. ❀

    • That’s an excellent point! Part of the problem with putting things down in an outline is that you’re then reluctant to change things. And if you — like you said — happen to be wandering around and come up with an awesome plot idea, you then have to either scrap your outline, or somehow work it in, risking disrupting everything else in the process. That’s actually why I tend to write from beginning to end, rather than jumping around between scenes. The story I want to tell at the start of writing, and the story I want to tell by the end of writing, are so completely different that I never could have predicted it if I’d tried to outline everything from the beginning.

      Shoes!!! Sadly she chooses really boring shoes — I believe they’re more like hiking boots. But that’s fair enough, because up to this point people keep giving her totally impractical high heels to wear, and that just doesn’t work if she’s going to pursue her plan of becoming a

      Ha! Thought I was gonna tell you, didn’t you? XD XD XD

      • OH yeah. I can’t believe people who write just random parts, or start in the middle, or… well, any of that. Since I don’t know where things are headed, or at least not entirely, there’s no way I can start anywhere but the beginning and go through from start to finish. That should be fun when I get around to writing Mercenary, because it’s basically… well, the timeline is kind of complicated in places, but that’s a problem for another time! AND DARN IT, I did think you were going to say something! *kicks dirt* Poo. But I guess Eris’ decision to buy completely functional and no-fun shoes makes sense when she’s already got a collection of cute-but-painful shoes that everyone else likes to give her. xD

      • Why don’t people give ME cute shoes all the time?!

        • Because you weren’t abducted by aliens, and you already have a functioning wardrobe πŸ™‚

          • Ha ha ha, good point. x) If it worked out like Eris, though, I’m all for getting abducted!

            • I feel ya. I’d let Varrin abduct me any day. Not sure I’d want to get the Ssrisk or Dr. T involved, though. Those parts of her abduction didn’t strike me as particularly pleasant.

              • LOL. Is it terrible that, for me, knowing that’s all that would happen and I would get Varrin at the end sounds BETTER than fighting through the dating pool? xD;

                • Not at all. Knowing you’re going to succeed with a bit of struggling along the way is way better than struggling without knowing if you’ll succeed.

                  • Exactly!! Thank you, that’s exactly what I’m saying. xD You just actually… said it. Comprehensively. Thanks! πŸ™‚ But it’s totally true. And she got such a cute haircut when he grew her hair back, so. ;P

                    • And really, what more can you ask of a man than him acquiring you a cute haircut?

                    • Since most don’t notice what you do with your hair at all? Not much! xDDD ❀

                    • My mother wants to know where you live.

                    • LOL mmkay. I live in Michigan during school, but the rest of the time I live in Ohio. x)

                    • Mom says: “Ooh! Those are both within driving distance! I must work now. No more lolly-gagging.” I assume the last two sentences weren’t meant for you. And please excuse her stalkerish response — I highly doubt she has the free time to drive to Ohio and track you down. If you see a blue eyed blonde lady show up on your doorstep, though, let me know and I’ll deal with it.

                    • Ah ha ha! πŸ˜€ Oh man, I would love to actually see you guys! Or even just your mother, if she happens to pop by. Luckily I’ll recognize her from your vlogs. I’ll treat her to dinner and see if I can bribe her into reading my manuscript before calling you in, though. xD Just steal your mom as my editor as well. No big. ;P

                    • Well, you know the saying — buy my mom dinner, and she’ll edit your manuscript. I’m pretty sure it’s from Shakespeare. Possible Twelfth Night?

                    • Hey! Your mom seems like a nice lady. I can’t expect her to edit for free. Gotta at least buy her dinner first. ;P

                    • Well, you know the saying — buy my mom dinner, and she’ll edit your manuscript. I’m pretty sure it’s from Shakespeare. Possibly Twelfth Night?

                    • Well, you know the saying — buy my mom dinner, and she’ll edit your manuscript. I’m pretty sure it’s from Shakespeare. Possibly Twelfth Night?

                    • Is she planning to hunt me down? xDDD

  22. No outlines for me, but you probably no that about me since I talk about myself all the time.

    You did a great job encapsulating (no pun intended because of the video) what makes a memorable book in your second paragraph above.

    • Did I? *goes back and reads second paragraph* Hey, go me! Man, I’m clever. Ha. Kidding. OR AM I?

      Sorry, I’m really hyper because I just got my boxes of books in the mail!!!! All 100 shiny new copies!!! I’ll be posting about that tomorrow, so I’ll shut up about it for now. Don’t want to give away the surprise. Although the surprise is that the books arrived, so I guess I did give it away after all. I do that a lot.

      In conclusion, books are awesome, and the usefulness of outlines entirely depends on your writing style.

  23. love your cover!!! oh my gosh!!!

    i don’t usually write with outlines. But I know lots of people who do and they swear by it. I think it’s all about discovering what works for you. Some people find outlines stifling. Others find it helps free their creativity by organizing and directing it into workable channels.

    • Ha, thanks. I only did the silhouettes, so I can’t take credit for the whole thing. But I’m definitely pleased with it πŸ™‚

      Yeah, it’s really personal taste with the outlines. Maybe one day I’ll use them to the exclusion of all other plotting methods. Maybe one day I’ll form an anti-outline protest group, and get laughed out of writers’ conventions for protesting such a non-controversial topic. Who knows?

  24. A general outline is the only way I can get words on the page. If I don’t have an idea where I’m going, I’ll never get the car out of the driveway, much less to the finish line of my novel.

    I pick my big plot points, usually four or five of them. Then I write the parts in between, letting the story grow organically.

    But for my current work-in-progress, I outlined everything. I have been writing the scenes out of order. It has been an interesting process, but it works for me.

    • Do you use Scrivener? Because apparently it’s amazing for writing out of order. I keep meaning to get it, but I’ve heard it’s way better on Mac than PC, and I have a PC, so … yeah πŸ˜€

      • Nope, I do all the organizing in Excel, and write each chapter in a separate Word document. It works pretty well. Once I have all the scenes I want, I’ll marry them together into one document.

  25. Pingback: Some Short Work-in-Progress Updates, and Some Author News That is Making Me Geek Out | Out Where the Buses Don't Run

  26. I’ve tried outlining. Doesn’t work for me. I want my story to go in one direction and inevitably my characters want it to go in another. It’s not that I can’t stick to an outline, it’s that THEY can’t.

  27. I’m not a big fan of outlines because I have to start a story first before I can conceive of how it is to work. I usually have an opening in mind and a few plot points so I work off of those. When I kind of feel like I have a solid base I then start making a small outline, mostly writing down chapters and stuff that needs to take place in them. That’s how I flesh everything out.

    • Ah, so you don’t even know how the story will end up when you start writing it?

      • Not really. I have the start and I kind of just write it and let it kind of write itself. Once I get started the stuff starts to flow and by the time I finish my chapter outline I know where I’m heading. Maybe I need to do more in order to get published, but its worked so far for me. Three novels written just like that.

  28. I am working on my first novel and did not use an outline. I kept trying to outline the story, but it continued to jump the rails and make its own route. I liked that part of writing. Freedom rocks.

    But, I did do some outlining as I began the editing process.

    • That does seem to happen, doesn’t it? The second you put your ideas on paper, your fingers are like, “Nope, we’re doing this instead. Sorry LOLOLOLOL.”

      Fingers are jerks.

  29. I’ve done both, and it’s funny, when I outline (shorter works only) I don’t get all bummed out by the end, vs. other ones where the last third seems to drag for me. But if I’ve started a story without any outlining, I can’t start on a new story with those same characters and outline it. My brain just sounds like a car trying to start with a flooded engine.

    • Hopefully flooded with water, and not, like, acid. That would be very messy for everyone involved.

      • I can tell you write sci-fi, ‘cuz you’re talking about acid, like we’re all stuck on some mutant planet where our basements flood with HCl. I think I used to flood the engine of my station wagon with gasoline. I was reminiscing with my parents the other day about how you could fit way too many teenagers into that car.

        • Hahaha dang. Clearly I need to be more circumspect in my speech. My dad used to have a station wagon. He never packed teenagers into it, though. Boxes of cereal, mostly.

  30. I have the same problem! I feel like outlines make my writing too “connect-the-dots-ish.” On the other hand, when I pants it, I feel like I’ve got great description and language, but the characters don’t have clear arcs and the story sags and drags in places.

    I wish I knew what the solution was! Until I figure it out, I guess I’ll keep schlepping through some combination of the two until I find what works best for me.

    In any event, you are certainly not alone in thinking that outlines stifle the creative little inner you. I totally agree.

    • And that is indeed the problem when you write without clear direction — your story, like you said, sags. I’m currently re-writing the end of the novel I’m working on because it … well, it makes no sense, lol. I was so focused on the characters and all their foibles that I didn’t realize until too late that nothing of consequence was happening. Ah outlines — the double-edged blade of storytelling!

  31. I haven’t read through the lengthy commentary section yet (but I will), but try thinking of your outline as a colouring book…it gives you a sense of what you’re trying to do, but nothing and no one says you can’t colour over the lines.

    I like an outline, because it gives me a sense of where I am going, but I also make sure I always remain open to the story itself and let the story dictate where I go next. That’s where the real adventure in writing sits.

    It takes nothing to change the outline later and tell everyone “See, I had it planned all the time!”.

    • Ha! So does that mean I’m allowed to post-writingly create an outline for my novel? Woo!

      I agree that at least some outline is necessary — otherwise you’re just rambling and it’s hard to tie various elements of the story together.

  32. beatniksifu

    Instead of Outlines I use titles for other parts of the story with a general idea in my mind about where it will lead, but ready to be changed at any time. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. So I end up with an outline but my commitment is to the characters and the action. So I can reign it in, or let the story and characters take the lead without feeling I’ve gone off course, but, rather into uncharted territory.

    • Titles … very interesting! So you have the very basic knowledge of what each scene/chapter will be about, but everything within said chapter is sort of free form. Cool!

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