A new list member asked about outlining; how to, more than why to (or why not to.)
Below is an enormous excerpt from my cute little book Getting Your Book Out of the Someday Box. While it describes my nonfiction writing process, it’s really an information-gathering-and-sorting process, which, in a way, is what outlining is about.
If this raises more questions than it answers, as I fear it will, ask and ye shall receive.
If you start writing before you know how your novel ends you are wasting time.
Unless you know the ending, once you arrive you won’t have built in foreshadowing. Your characters will have unrealistic inconsistencies. Scenes will make the wrong points. Your theme won’t be emphasized.
You’ll have to go back and rewrite the whole thing to have any hope of making it right.