Writing Process

A Lesson Learned about Outlining

My relationship with outlining has always been a little rocky. I’m a Pantser, so I usually just start writing, often with little or no idea about the story I’m going to tell.

When I decided to write science fiction for NaNoWriMo, I did a brief outline because I wanted my plot to stay on track. The outline was as basic and minimal as I could make it. I ended up adding things to the story that didn’t appear in my outline and I didn’t update my outline as I went along. I am sure my first draft now has many plot holes as a result.

Now here I am, contemplating the second novel in my detective series. I have a first draft and a second draft and even a sort of third draft where I’m moving chapters around and I may need to add things and have to find a way to keep track of them all. I think the easiest way to do that would be to sketch out what I want to have happen in an outline, find or write those chapters, and then make sure it all gets put in the correct order, again using an outline which I will update if I think of better ideas or plot twists along the way. Outlines really aren’t so bad, so I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to appreciate their value.

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