Some people like them, others don’t. Do you have a preference?
Outlines can be simple to intricately detailed, they can be guidelines or rigid maps of point A to B. Any way you look at them they are a resource which means they are not necessary to drafting your story.
Why would you use one?
If you’re like me, when I first thinking about a story, the process is like a fire. A fire that blazes brightly and if I don’t feed it peters out quickly. In fact this will be the first project I attempt to complete (apart from short children stories) and knowing myself, I need something to push me along when I could easily get bogged down in an exciting scene or researching a historical tidbit.
Why wouldn’t you use one?
Many authors with loads of experience write as they create. I love this idea but for now don’t have enough discipline to stick to one story but would be all over the place. Some feel that when writing a mystery, they don’t want to lay it all out on the table, even to themselves but to discover along the way.
There is no right or wrong. You may start with an outline and chuck it or get halfway through your draft and need to whip up a quick outline to keep you focused. Whether you use one or not isn’t the issue, but using your tools wisely will help you to craft a story that even you would read.
Here are a few Outline resources scattered about the web.
Working with Outlines
Developing an Outline: This has become one of my most visited sites since starting school. It’s chockfull of helpful articles.
Outlining (at the risk of being dry) : Author talks about his use of them
How to Write a Novel: The Snowflake Method: An in depth look on getting you started using the Snowflake
Outlining 101: From Paperback Writer which I’ll talk more about later. Also, check her other posts labeled outlining.
Are you Afraid of Outlines? Three part series from Write a Better Novel
Part 1 (features example of John Grisham’s choice)
Part 2 (The Three Rivers Method)
Part 3 (Sing “I Did it My Way”)
I’ll be adding more links here. Do you have a favorite way to outline? Or do you prefer not to at all? Share your opinions here!