Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Outline Or A Story

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?


EriCan said...

That sounds similar to how I do it too. I don't outline, but I have a skeleton story for my first draft. It's mostly dialogue.

I've always thought about whether I should scrap the way I do it and just outline, but I figure the best way will come in time.

Schmitty- I love it :)

Kathy said...


I usually don't outline. I like to be spontaneous. Outlines make me feel limited.