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  • Sarah Everly

Should I Outline My Book Or Not?

You might be wondering, why have an outline? Or you might be wondering, how could anyone not have an outline when writing your book?


When writing a book, many authors want to have their ideas and story flow organically, rather than set to a strict structure of planned events. There's something special about not knowing where you're going in a book, and then letting the characters lead you that way. It can make the book feel more authentic in its storyline.


When I was starting my first draft for my sequel called "Elle", I decided to opt out of planning the structure for the first few chapters. I wanted to see where the story could take me without having it all sketched and planned out first. Sometimes, going from point A to point G is a little hard to see. Meaning, that sometimes it is easier to know what is going to happen as you begin the writing process(you can decide as you go).


However, after the first few chapters, I knew it was important to me to make an outline for the rest of the book. While I stick to the outline, I never mind in the writing process if a new idea or a new scene happens before I get to the next point on the outline. It's all part of the process.


So, what are the pros of outlining?

It creates a structure for your story. It can allow you to make sure you are hitting all the scenes you want to in an ordered fashion, and it can make readers feel like the story is flowing better, without too many gaps away from the focus of the story. It can also help the reader know if their book is too short, or too long. It can be hard to know how long your book is going to be or how short if you just write without the outline.


What are the cons of outlining?

You can lose what makes in my opinion writing so beautiful. It can be too structured, and the characters might seem more stagnant if they're all planned out rather than seeing how the character develops based on what's happened so far.


What are my recommendations?


I think an outline is an important part of the writing process and I encourage it. However, I also think it should be mixed in with writing that is not "planned". Having a brief outline rather than a super detailed one may help with this. My advice-be spontaneous when you write and have fun with the process. You don't always have to stick with a rigid outline.


Thank you for reading!


-Sarah


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