Outlining your stories

Outline for article

Outline for article (Photo credit: hawkexpress)

Do you?  Outline your stories, that is.  I’ve never really sat down and plotted the beginning, middle, and end of my stories…not really.  I mean I’ve always kind of had an idea of where I was going (okay, honestly…I haven’t always had that idea…there have been times when I just started writing with no planning on my part), but now I’m thinking about trying to write with at least a loose outline.

Sometimes I think I know exactly what my characters are going to do and then they surprise me by taking the story the way they want it to go.  And that direction is usually much better than what I had planned.  It’s possible that I was concerned that an outline would hem me in, but isn’t that a silly thought? Just because I plotted it one way doesn’t mean I can’t turn around and take a different path, does it?

So, that’s going to be my lesson for the next couple of stories I write…we’ll see how this works out.

What’s your writing style?  Do you plan everything out before you start or do you let your story flow freely?

13 Responses

  1. It depends on what I’m writing. For a longer piece, it’s good to have a plan.

    • Agreed. In a blogpost, I have the content in my head, and maybe a ending sentence. If I’m to write a book, I’d make a detailed outline 🙂

      • oh yeah, for my blog posts I usually just start writing whatever strikes my fancy…for articles, I definitely outline, book? getting ready to do NaNoWriMo, sitting down today to do outline so we’ll see how that goes…

    • Did you outline your novel, Patti?

  2. I usually have a loose plan and then see what happens! I might try planning my next book out more and see how that goes. 🙂

    • Sounds like how I’ve been doing things…the book I’m getting ready to start? Thinking I need to outline it to keep me on track, don’t want to go off on a needless tangent…

  3. I do both. I’ve had plans/outlines for a story and then the story was all, nope I’m gonna go the opposite direction haha. So I let go of my plan and just followed the story 🙂
    Though I do think it’s good to have some sort of destination in mind? Or at least some major events that are vital for the plot?
    It only works for me when it’s a vague idea that needs to happen, else the story will just defy me haha.
    Currently I’m writing short stories and one biography type story. Short stories just come as they please and the biography is half written years ago, half planned, some written more recently and I’m trying to bring it all together. It results in a lot of changes, but the general guide of what’s suppose to happen in that character’s life is very welcome to have!

    • I’ve used outlines for articles and they seem to work well for me with that type of writing. The book I’m working on has been in my head for years, but I’m now working on an outline to try to help me determine where to actually start it, you know, where best to capture the reader’s attention…

      • Yeah I can understand that. Sometimes a story in your mind can grow so big it’s hard to figure out what to actually tell your readers 🙂

    • Exactly, Arisa! With this story, I have so much info and detail in my mind that it is kind of difficult to figure out what is important to tell and what is just background for me…but I’ll get there…

  4. I just write whatever comes in my mind. Well most of the time I write about my past.:) But sometimes the story is just too complicated and became too lengthy because of many sub-plots, then it is difficult too omit some parts to make the story a not-so-boring one.

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