I Hate Outlines

Some parts of writing are planned, others are not. For me, outlines have never worked in my favor. I learn the story when I get down to the nitty gritty of writing it.

Normally, my characters write it for me. I have a general idea of what I want them to be like, but things change. Once I have music playing and I’m typing away, scenes happen that I didn’t expect. It’s like a movie reel playing in front of me, this is how I enjoy writing.

It’s surprising I don’t outline, because I’m a task oriented person. I keep a planner and check off tasks that are taken. My stories take on a different level.

In the past, I’ve tried outlining but wasted more time on that than writing the story.

Do outlines work for you or do you hate them?



15 thoughts on “I Hate Outlines

  1. Well, outlines or structuring do work if it’s a novella, novel, or an essay when a lot of references and backgrounds from historical or literary works need to be blended in that writing. Characterization also requires detailing about their mannerisms. Otherwise, if it’s poetry or a work of fiction , or even a short story which is absolutely imaginary and you want to go with the flow of the ink then I feel outlining is not that important, or an outline emerges as we continue to write and may be taken care of in the editing part.

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  2. I like outlines. They help me organize my thoughts and make sure what I want to say is included. However, I tend to be easily distracted and my mind wonders all over the place. I guess that’s why it works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the feedback. I know what it’s like to be distracted. As you mentioned, I will jot down ideas that I want included. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. I do some outlining, but very little. Like you, I’m the kind of person who sees the story unfold as I write it. Plus, I’m able to keep a trillion and one things inside my head. Even when I do some outlines, I usually forget about them and write anyway. The only thing I really keep and refer to are timelines if the a book is complicated. Maybe a character outline or two. Maybe.

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    • In right there with you. Seeing a story unfold right before you is an amazing feeling as a writer. Why kind if stories do you write?


  4. Experience has taught me that I’m an inbetweener. I usually start with an idea and work outline-free with that but if I find myself going too off-track I pause and plan. Like you, I let my characters lead the way so am always heading in different directions and having to revise my outline. I e been planning like crazy for NaNoWriMo but know that I’ll off-road along the way and am happy to update the outline accordingly. As long as the story is moving forward do whatever works for you is my feeling.


  5. I can’t even count the number of times that I have tried to outline my stories. They never work for me. Everyone says it’s best to outline but I find it to be such a pain. I typically jot down a few things about the story and characters and then take it from there. Never a full outline.

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  6. I didn’t start with an outline for my first book and I got into a few plot muddles that took quite a bit of fixing and rewriting so for my second novel, which is a dual plotted murder mystery, I wrote a pretty detailed outline and I found the writing process much easier.

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  7. I agree about outlines. Each to his own although I have a vague outline in my head as to the start, the climax and the ending. In fact I do the ending first but the rest I let the characters take me.

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