To Outline or not to Outline, that is the Question.


Hey there and Happy Sunday to you all.

This week I read an interesting quote from one of my favorite authors of all time, Stephen King, and it really pissed me off. This is what he said:

“Outlines are the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to God they were writing masters’ theses.”

Well, I am here to say that I am a proud plotter, not a pantser. When I wrote my first novel back in 1994, I was a pantser because I didn’t know what the hell, I was doing so I just went with it. That was the only novel that I never allowed anyone to read because it was crap. It was too short for a novel and the ending was too predictable. That story had no direction and was full of plot holes. But it was my first novel ever and I kept it for years until it was destroyed last year due to flooding in my building.

I have been outlining my novels ever since the first one because I have to. My memory is terrible. I have a wandering mind and have a hard time staying focused so mapping everything out is necessary. If I didn’t do an outline, I would most likely lose focus and not finish the story. It’s happened before. So, I am defending the choice to outline. Sorry, Mr. King.

I’ve never had a problem with outlining except that it makes me dread having to do it. I usually want to get right to the writing, and outlining it first slows me down. But like I said before, it’s necessary. I feel that if an author needs to map out each scene or chapter before starting the novel than they should. Novels are huge and can take months, sometimes even years to write. It depends on the author. But a lot goes into a novel that I feel needs to be planned beforehand otherwise you can forget to put things into it that you intended originally, you can forget character names and situations, city names and god knows what else. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint for how it’s supposed to look, so I feel a novel needs the same thing.

The most important part of a story is that it’s written, not how it’s written. It takes a whole lot of courage for a writer to dig so deep within their soul and create something. Whom are we to judge? How you arrived from point a to b is irrelevant. All that matters is that you arrived.

Until next time…


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