Outlining My Feelings On Outlining

outlineA 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.

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All Writers Plan

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/490615 by Ann- Kathrin Rehse http://www.sxc.hu/profile/kaliloPantsers seem to take umbrage, sometimes extreme, to my statement that planning is vital to writing.

Let’s get what I hope is an unbiased definition of “plan” from Merriam Webster:

plan verb: to think about and arrange the parts or details of (something) before it happens or is made

Let’s consider writing without planning:

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If You’re Pantsing Without Planning You’re Wasting Time

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.

“Writing is re-writing!” you shout with glee.

And I say, that’s ridiculous.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/770264 by Shuné Pottier http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Shune
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