I've been reading lots of writer's blogs today. There are so many of us working on our first or second novels, still feeling our way through the process. I posted yesterday about finally being ready to outline my next book. All the blog surfing today got me thinking about the outline process. Outline is the wrong word for what I do. I write the story. Just the basic story. No description, no dialogue, just what happens.
Is this what others do? I don't know, but it works for me. When I wrote the original outline for Schmitty the Pirate it was over 9200 words. From there, I expanded it to a 122,000 word behemoth of a first novel attempt.
I did the same for the next Schmitty, which is now the first Schmitty, while the original Schmitty is planned to be the fourth Schmitty. It sounds a bit George Lucas, but I plan not only to publish them in order, but to make each one better than the next.
Having a story outline allows me to really learn the story so that the writing is easy. Since I know it so well, it flows onto the page. I can change it if necessary, and have. But if I don't know the story before beginning, writing is a much greater challenge.
So the question isn't outline or no outline. It's outline or story?