I'm a happy writer today, because last night I got a pretty detailed outline written for book 3 of my HOUR OF MISCHIEF series. Which is good because for awhile I only had a vague idea about what was going to happen. And since outlining has put me in such a good mood. I think I'll write a post about it today!
I think I've written about outlining many times on the blog in various other posts, which might put a few pantsers off. Hey, I respect pantsers. I have NO idea how they can start a story and just write without knowing the ending. This is a foreign concept to me. And honestly, if pantsing works well for you, go for it.
But today I'm going to talk about all the things outlining is good for and why I am such a die hard planner. So, let's jump in!
1) Outlining lays down the track
This is an obvious one. Outlining gives you a path to follow that will take you to where you're going. And for fast drafting especially, I find this useful. If I know where I'm going, I know where to focus in early scenes and it helps me pace my story better from the get go. That way there's a lot less huge structure edits to do after the first draft is done. Because structure edits are hellish. It also helps to see the end goal, It makes me power through the words, even when I'm hitting a block. And speaking of which...
2) Less writer's block
It helps to know what scenes you need to write because then you're not left sitting at your desk wondering 'what am I supposed to do now?' True you might be stuck at your desk one day not wanting to write anything even if you KNOW what's coming, but at least you know what you have to do. You aren't lost in the black pit wondering if there's even a story to tell. I know that feeling. That's why I vowed never to start a story without an outline again.
3) Outlining helps with Story Structure
You've probably heard of a lot of different structures. The three act structure, the heroes journey, there are a lot of ways to pace your novel, but really only a few that work really well. Even if you are a pantser, when it comes to editing, you really need an outline to figure out where your major story events stand. Does your inciting incident come to late? Is there enough build up to the climax? Do you have a lowest point? Does your middle have a lot going on or does it drag? These are all questions that need answering, and whether you choose to do it in the first draft or second is your choice. Though personally, I think its easier to tackle in the first draft.
However you write, outlines will always come back around. And while some may choose not use them, I think they are one of the most valuable tools in a writer's arsenal.
I guess it doesn't hurt that outlining makes me feel really organized and happy. But that's just personal.