Hey, it works!

Yeah, well it does.

You’re totally confused, I can see that.

As was I when I started doing my story outline, but now I gotten into the grove of it and it works fine. Mind you my biggest problem wasn’t outlining, but what to do after I outlined. I always felt that writing an outline was like writing am purposely incomplete draft, which meant I would have to do it all over again in a real first draft anyway. And besides it clashed with my concept of what artistic creation should be, something born in the moment out of a spark of inspiration.

Yeah, right.

But when your sparks come the way of the cranial equivalent of sticking a meta fork into a toaster, you need a Plan B.

Enter the outline.

And a realization of what an outline really is.

A map.

It shows you where you are and where you been, which makes it easy to keep track of a lot of elements that, when invented on the fly can be easily forgotten, even though the are crucial to the plot, if only for consistency sake.

And I’m all about consistency (as readers of this blog bloody well know!)

Ahem, moving on….

Little things like names. You know the names of things, characters and locations. I have to admit that it is beyond frustrating (and a little more embarrassing to boot) paging through dozens if not hundreds of pages of written text just to extract a name of a key character which for the love of me (and I do love myself very, very much) I completely forgotten.

I also realized that like a map, it only shows you the general route, but it is not the same as traveling it. So while you may know the location of X on a map, it is not the same as being in front of X and seeing it for what it is. The same thing with an outline/draft. The outline is the map, telling you where X is, the draft is (insert writer’s name here) looking at said location, interacting with it and generally experiencing it.

Now, I don’t know if I will abandon free-style discovery writing. I doubt it. But  is something that I will seriously consider whipping out from the toolbox when dealing with ambitious projects such as the current WIP.

Because sometimes you do have to stop and ask for directions.


A peppy vocal trance song to lighten the mood. Enjoy!

5 comments on “Hey, it works!

  1. Glad the outlining is working for you! 🙂


  2. I’m also a ‘discovery writer’ who’s found that outlining can help out tremendously. I think the key is knowing how much is too much, and how much is just enough. If I were to write an encyclopedia entry for every little element in my world, I would go insane. But writing out a paragraph or two about each character, describing in broad strokes their background, upbringing, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses is really helpful. Sometimes, knowing more about your characters/setting simply opens the door for your discovery-writer mind to invent so much more than when you knew nothing.


  3. Wonderful. I use to just write, but outlining (I do a high level chapter outline) has sped up my writing. Each time I do it I improve my time a bit more. I do go rogue, but I take a day or two to find my way back. It keeps the plot holes tied up. It was an easy transition for me, but for some other writers they just aren’t wired to do that and still come out with a great product.


    • @Tasha

      Thank you.


      Well, I’m really writing a plot outline, although I need to find a handy way to keep track of characters as well. Any suggestions?

      @LM Preston

      I’ll see what happens after I finish the outline. Mind you, it, like everything else at this stage is subject to change, so will see how it goes.


  4. […] my short stories, but for complicated projects like RoE, I needed to get organized somehow, and a plot outline seemed like the simplest way to go. But I’m still discovery writing the guts of the story. […]


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