C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Should you outline your book?

Outlines save time.

The novice should outline so they don’t get sucked down too many rabbit holes. It is soul-crushing to write and write and then to discover that you need to back up 50 pages to get out of a dead end. I just write a sequence of events and don’t bother with the Roman numerals they taught you in grade school. A good outline will help you avoid pitfalls, allow you to play with timelines, beats, plot structure and pacing.

Outlines get a bad rep because people think an outline stifles creativity and gives too much structure. My reply: an outline is only a straitjacket if you allow it to be. You can deviate from the road map and explore but retain the strength of story through an overview.

If you are a discovery writer, it is incredibly freeing to just sit down and go, but you are risking wasted time. Given how long it takes to write a book, who has time to waste? At least have some target for where the story is going to end up.

There will be a thousand small changes to make when you’re done the first draft. You’ll have to adjust times, facts, locations and ensure a believable character arc.

Outlines will save you at least a bit of that work.

Filed under: publishing, writing tips, ,

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