Writing Do’s and Don’ts: Outlines

Writing Do’s and Don’ts:

Outlines

Last week, I gave some pointers on coming up with an idea for your book. Your next step, unless you decide you decide you want to write the story as it goes along, is to start outlining your plot. Not all authors need outlines to be successful, but I think they are great tools for writers. If you’re not sure if you want to do an outline or not, check out the pros and cons from dailywritingtips.com.

DO:

1. Have a general idea of how you want your book to start and conclude.

You can try and come up with your story as you outline, but I’ve found that it is best to have a general idea of how I want my story to be told before planning out the finer details.

2. Keep your outline where it is handy, whether it be a physical paper or a computer document.

It’s hard to stay on track if you lose your outine.

3. Choose the right outlining method for you.

Check out this article at The Creative Penn to discover several outlining tips. Choose the one that best works for you.

Picture Source: footage.shutterstock.com
Picture Source: footage.shutterstock.com

DON’T:

1. Do an outline if it doesn’t help you.

Outlines are a tool for writers. If they do not help you, don’t do them. Why? Because it wastes your time. Why fill out an outline you’re never going to refer back to when you could be using that time to write?

2. Lose your outline.

If you need an outline to keep you on track or to refer back to, losing it can hinder your writing time. Trust me.

3. Worry about whether or not your outline matches up to your story.

I’ve had times where I got new ideas along the way and ended up modifying my outline. Don’t be afraid to branch away from your original outline. Just update your outline and keep writing. You can save a copy of the old one to see how the story has changed (which can be pretty neat).

What are your suggestions when it comes to outlines? If I didn’t cover it, I would love to hear about it!

jncahill_name

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2 thoughts on “Writing Do’s and Don’ts: Outlines

  1. I’ve tried different outline methods so many times and I just cannot get into them. I feel like they could be super beneficial for me, but I haven’t find the right one yet.

    1. I pretty much just write out my general plot, then start making an outline based on which events happen in what chapter. Sometimes I have to go back and edit my outline because it doesn’t work out the way I’d planned, but I feel that it helps in the long run. I haven’t really tried the other methods yet. Do you just have a general idea of how you want your story to go and take it from there, or what?

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