Thursday, November 14, 2013

Let's Talk About Outlining (or Plotting)

I use Grammarly for english proofreading because nothing is wurser than having yer mistooks found by a reeder.

It's a bit of a hot topic in the writing world, whether or not you must outline your story.  There are hundreds of articles and blogs out there about how and when to outline your story, what the best ways to go about making an outline are, how outlines might be the difference between a good story and a bad one, etc...

The outline is 95 percent of the book. Then I sit down and write, and that’s the easy part. - Jeffrey Deaver

So that's one side of the argument.

Another set of voices is out there saying that they don't, or can't, outline.  That the story and characters come together as they will, and trying to force them into one certain direction, just because you said you would, is a mistake.

Plot is, I think, the good writer’s last resort, and the dullard’s first choice. - Stephen King


I never understand people trying to force their ways on others, or saying any way that's not your way is wrong.  Art, religion, politics, sexuality, education, diet, raising children, drinking scotch, buying a home, reading a book...  Unfortunately, no matter what you're doing these days, it's very likely that someone out there does is willing to tell the world that you are doing it wrong.

I hate to pull the "Can't we all just get along?" card, but seriously, Can't we all just get along?

I don't plot my stories.  I've tried.  For years I forced outlines and structure and plot onto paper, because my English teachers told me that I had to if I wanted to write something.  I can honestly say that I never finished writing a story that I plotted out first.  I lost interest, grew frustrated, stopped caring about the story.

I wrote To The Bone because I pictured an old, grizzled PI that was trying to find a lost girl, got captured by a cannibal, and wound up having to eat his own feet.

That's not what the story turned out to be.  A lot of my original ideas made it through, but the story itself became another animal entirely.  It's better, I think, and it became that way organically.

But that's only what works for me.  If outlining works for you, for the love of God, outline.  Whatever it takes to make your story better, do it. That's what I'm going to do.  I'm just happy to know there are so many people out there that love writing, I don't care how they do it.

That's all for now,
thanks for reading,
buh bye then


  1. Uh jeez, there are so many different ways to achieve the finished product. I plot- but it's a rough plot. If the story takes me off course then that's the way it's meant to be as opposed to the way I planned it, but I still like to have a rough idea where I'm going. Always have done and always will. But yet I know people who just stroll their way through plots, stopping every now and then to admire the scenery before going off to explore in different directions. They still come out in the same place with a smile on their face. And then there are those who write a random scene here, an idea there, and then when they have enough they piece them together to build a story. Completely different to how I work but it gets the same results, and if those results are right, how can the journey be wrong??