I've just finished outlining my novel, and boy, it feels like I just jogged a few huge rounds. And I haven't even started writing it yet!
Of course, some writers prefer not to outline their novels. It stifles their creativity. Take Stephen King, for instance. He just dives straight into his prose and hopes for the best. His reason, he says, is that he loves to be surprised when he gets to the ending. I totally get that, but I'm not Stephen King, so I have to outline.
An outline is useful for keeping me reminded of what to write next and, hopefully, will stop writer's block from happening. And who's to say there won't be any surprises? A novel outline is like a road map. Sure, you know where you're going, but if you take a little detour, you might see some stuff you weren't really expecting.
Now that the outline's done, I more psyched than ever before to get done with my novel. Hurrah!
Here are some links for those wondering about outlining:
- Effectively Outlining Your Plot by Lee Masterson
- Novel Outlining by Paperback Writer
- Footsteps to a Novel by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
- Creating the Professional Plot Outline by Holly Lisle
John Ling (author of Fourteen Bullets) offers an alternative technique to outlining in the comments section.