09 June 2012

I Just Made My First Novel Outline

When it comes to writing, I've always leaned more towards being a pantser. I often have something of an outline in my head, but I've never written one out on paper. However, I've also never finished a novel. For Camp NaNoWriMo, I've been writing all over the place--I have the story in my head, and I write whatever scene grabs me each day. Ergo: not in order. I realized that I have no idea how it's going to end, and I'm not even sure what order some of these scenes should go in. So today, I got some index cards, and I sat down with a pen and wrote one scene on each card. (I haven't written some of these scenes yet, so this also helped me know what I still need to write.) Then I shuffled them around until I figured out what order they should be. I looked at the last card, and realized that could be the ending of the novel!
I will never be the type of writer who creates a detailed outline of all plot points, but I realized today that some structure appeals to me. I'll probably use this method when writing future manuscripts as well.
What about you? What method works for you? Do you need a detailed outline? Do you--like me--need a little bit of structure to help you know where you're going? Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?


  1. I am a plotter, but most of my outlines aren't all that detailed. Perhaps a sentence or two for each scene/chapter along with some character and world notes.

  2. I completed Dragon and the Crow by pantsing it. But when it came to the two sequels, I have found I must plan.

    There is always room to go crazy, but a chapter outline is like paycheck -- it keeps you working.

    Alos, turn off your captcha thingo -- no point making it harder to comment.

    1. I didn't even realize that stupid captcha thing was on. Killing it now. So sorry.