Saturday, 3 April 2010

To outline or not to outline...that is the question.

Writing is a wonderful thing. It has twists and turns and has the odd (or million) doubting moment(s) when you get so frustrated with your wip you consider hitting the delete button and running for the hills!

But before that we have to start somewhere and this question struck me last night - are you a planner or do you write off the hip?

Now I'm a seat of my pants girl all the way. When I started my current MS it came pretty much loosely formed in my head. I knew the main characters, the plot and where it would go so I started writing. Sure there were some detours along the way but I enjoyed where it lead me.

So having never really planned, and being curious, I did a bit of research so I could map out my novel.

http://filmmaking-101.suite101.com/article.cfm/outlining_improves_your_writing

http://www.ehow.com/how_4536804_outline-writing-novel.html

http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2007/09/novel-outlining-101.html

http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2005/02/novel-iii-outlining.html

Oh yeah and there's also the snowflake method:

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php

So I open the floor and ask which method works for you?

9 comments:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. I have good intentions for planning, plotting, mapping, snowing...but mostly I just sit and write. :-)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Ah Shannon, you're a speaking my language. Glad I'm not the only one :)

Mayowa said...

Awesome post.

I think that writers who thrust themselves into the void without a plan are following an inner compass that leads them to the story they were supposed to write.

What's that inner compass? It's the truth, the nagging thought, painful memory, the heartbreak and the wondrous past that the writer is truly writing about (regardless of the genre and style of the wip).

Writing Your Truth

See you on QT!

Jana Hutcheson said...

I'm a planner. Big time. With my latest WIP I'm planning it all out-my character biographies, my setting (I've even sketched two maps!) scene ideas, dialogue. That's just the way I work. I know lots of writers who do it your way, too, and it works for them. You just have to do what works for you. :)

Carole Anne Carr said...

Try doing what I do in such a dilemma, re-read 'The Art of Dramatic Writing' by Lajos Egri - all right, it relates to play writing, but it works perfectly well for novel writing too and removes so many problems - worth its weight in gold. Hugs.. Carole.

Mayowa said...

I've been thinking about this some more.

Planning or shooting from the hip is probably more a factor of a writer's personality than we give credit for.

What remains important is that writers guide the planning or the hip shooting using the inner compass. That inner compass being the real truth they are writing about.

Excellent post by the way.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Jana. Yeah, I see what you mean. Sometimes it seems like there is a 'proper' way to do things with writing and we ignore what works for us to do what is expected. Although, I wish had your discipline with the maps etc. Sounds cool.

Carole, that sounds like a book I may have to check out. Off to Amazon....

Mayowa, thanks for follwing. I've returned the favour. Nice insights btw, I never thought of it like that. I like the inner compass:)

DaniSue said...

Thanks for reading my blog, thought I'd check yours out too :)

I haven't been a planner, but I'm starting to give it a try. My current WIP is one that I had a pretty vague idea for, and I just started writing it. The more I wrote the more ideas I got which led to a lot of revising, but I'm glad I did it that way. I think if I had tried to plan it I wouldn't have come up with half the ideas I did.

As for my next projects, I'm going to give planning a try and see if it helps me write faster and with more direction. And if they start to go in different directions from what I planned, I'm okay with that.

Jessica Hill said...

I'm not much of a planner. I always have a general idea of how to start a story and where I want it to go, but I don't really outline, and if I do, it's only a couple chapters at a time. I just started a new project, and for this one I wrote a flash fic piece in the MC's perspective, which gave me a rough outline of how I want the story to go. It helped a lot for me to get my ideas in order.