To outline or not to outline?

Posted: October 3, 2011 in Uncategorized
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To outline or not to outline, that is the question.  I’ve read a lot of discussion about this from published mystery writers.  Since I don’t have a mentor or teacher, I rely on the words of those who had made it in the book world.  Except on this topic, they are of mixed opinions.  Mostly they sway to the “outline it” camp, and as a novice writer, I want to give myself as much of an advantage as I can.  So I’m breaking things into scenes and writing a short paragraph about the action and motivations in each scene.  What finally convinced me was a blog entry by Julie Hyzy, the author of the White House chef mystery series.

I was afraid that it I outlined my story it would become stilted and formal.  I want it to be organic, flowing freely out of my imagination.  I want it to be fresh and inviting to my readers, so I was leaning toward just winging it when I start writing in November.  Then I read Julie’s blog and saw that I could be setting myself up for failure when I got to a point where I had myself stumped over what comes next.  And that will happen.  When you’re pushing for quantity you will get yourself stumped.  I know that from working my day job and getting to the point where I don’t know what to do next.  The outline will only be a roadmap.  It doesn’t mean that I can’t wander off and do a little sight seeing of my own.

My day job beckons!


  1. Hello Chris,
    Good luck with your novel, can’t wait to read it.

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