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Organic Writing Versus Outlines

November 2, 2014

Some writers, like myself, write like they think: rattling off words in one long stream of consciousness. It’s not a bad way to go.  When an author writes organically, the creative stream can take the book to unexpected places. However, there’s something to be said for an outline, and although I’ve never been a fan, I’m going to give it a go.

It’s not like I’ve never outlined. Once I get started and am deep into a piece of writing, I do outline chapters, linking characters, ideas, and subplots. I often color code threads that weave throughout the story with colored markers. For a visual person, this technique can really help. However, writers can get stuck in ruts; myself included. It’s time to try something new. So, here’s an outline for my outline.

Protagonist and relevant characters

Setting/Time period

Problem/quest/ wish/purpose

Inciting incident

Obstacles/challenges

Climax

Wrap-up

I’ll need to remember details, voice, and brush through the manuscript for mistakes, but hopefully the outline will limit the editing process from 999 revisions to maybe, 699. One can hope.

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