Outlining

When I started writing seriously, I didn’t like outlining. It felt overly structured, artificial. And most of the writers I met seemed to fall into two camps: those who outlined strictly and those who flew by the seat of their pants. I thought I was probably a pantser, as I liked following my instincts to write the story. If the story was good, great. If it wasn’t, well, that’s what revising is for right?

Yeah, that worked until I realized, two years after Odyssey, that I don’t like revising.

This was what I discussed with Katie today as we were working on our outlines. The writing process is different for everyone. Katie likes revising but I don’t like it, and I don’t think I’ll ever do. Yeah, I know it’s important. Yes, I’ll do it if I’m pushed… eventually.

Not all revision is hard. Technical issues like rearranging the scenes or filling in white space are easy to fix. But when confronted with bigger “why” and “how” questions, I freeze. I put the story aside than force myself to change the story that I’ve become attached to.

The more I understand the way I write, the more I realize that I need to get my story as close to right before I invest the energy into writing it. Fixing serious and fundamental problems at the outlining stage is much easier than fixing them in a story that’s already written. Also the more I practice plotting and outlining, the more naturally it comes to me now. I actually really enjoy it now–maybe more than the actual writing!

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