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?

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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.

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    • 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!

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  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?

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  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.

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  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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