What’s the Right Way to Write?

And by the “right way,” I mean with or without an outline? I’ve watched interviews and read books that were staunch supporters of either one,and I’ve tried it both ways. Some of the writing books I’ve read suggest you do whatever feels best for you. Personally, having an outline works maybe one-fourth of the time. I’ve never had an outline I didn’t deviate from, and sometimes the outline kills all excitement for the story.

Instead of an outline, a lot of the time I’ll write a brief paragraph, blurb-style, of what the book’s about. That helps to keep me on track. Call me crazy, but I prefer to make up the story as I go along. It definitely gets crazy, and if I had the discipline to stick to one, an outline probably would help. But I feel like I’m discovering the story as I write it. It’s so much more interesting when I don’t know the outcome!

(This was why I was a pantser instead of a planner during NaNoWriMo)

My own writing preferences aside, I can see the benefits to an outline. Most importantly, you know where your story is going and how. If you get stuck, you can skip ahead to another scene, because you know all the scenes that need to be written. An outline is probably also handy for editing, because you can start to see plot holes even before they occur. The outline isn’t set in stone, and you can change it whenever you like.

I can’t really think of any benefits of going sans-outline. I’ve always been at my most comfortable writing that way. I discover new things as I write; I know how I want the story and the ending to feel – basically, I know the emotional response I want to leave the reader with, even if I don’t know the actual ending.

So, to outline or not to outline?

3 thoughts on “What’s the Right Way to Write?

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