How to outline a novel – post at Ingram Spark

Do you outline a novel before you write it or do you dive straight in? That’s the source of one of the great divides between writers, the ‘planners’ v the ‘pantsers’. To complicate matters, some pantsers are actually not as fancy-free as they appear.

And you might ask what counts as an outline. Is there a bare minimum an outline needs to do? Will an outline squash the creativity? Could you outline in a fresh way to give yourself more scope to be inventive? Does your outline even have to be in words? (Interpretive dancers, this is your chance to shine…’ I’m only half joking….)

Today I’m at the IngramSpark blog, because they asked me to talk about all the various and creative ways we can create outlines for our stories. There’s something for everyone. Do come over.  There’s also a lot in my workbook, BTW.

And if you’re curious about what’s been going on in my own writerly lab, here’s the latest.

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  1. #1 by tracikenworth on September 9, 2019 - 12:18 am

    Reblogged this on Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger and commented:
    Loved this approach to outlines! Check it out!

  2. #2 by floatinggold on September 9, 2019 - 12:46 am

    I’m mostly a pantser. A very brief outline happens at one point or another.
    However, I do want to try and work on a better outline in the future just to see how it helps with my future writing.

    • #3 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on September 9, 2019 - 10:02 pm

      Good luck with the new approach! You never know, it might become your preferred method!

  3. #4 by acflory on September 9, 2019 - 3:09 am

    I think of myself as a ‘pantster’ because I deliberately try not to second guess the ending at the beginning. But…something you wrote in this article rang a whole orchestra worth of chords:

    ‘There’s your outline, in a character arc.’

    I don’t set out to create a particular type of character, and I certainly don’t write a character sheet or character arc ahead of time. But…my subconscious knows who the main character will be, so even though I’m pantsting for the first 20 -25K words, the character itself is almost fully formed. The other characters emerge more slowly, but once I have them, and the technical constraints, the major drivers of the story are in place. I guess I really am a hybrid. 🙂

    • #5 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on September 9, 2019 - 10:04 pm

      Hi Andrea! Glad you liked that idea! I like what you say about the subconscious. I think we half-know the story, and better than we think, and sometimes have to just ask the right questions to get it out.

      • #6 by acflory on September 10, 2019 - 1:45 am

        Yes! The right questions at the right time. Something else you said rings true for me as well – the beginning is often not where it should be. I’ve learned to embrace re-structuring, no matter how much work it entails. 🙂

  1. Five Links 9/13/19 Loleta Abi | Loleta Abi Author & Book Blogger

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