Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To outline or not to outline, that is the question.

My goals for March? Keep up with blogging, for one.

I meant to write one again last week, but alas, I was consumed with thoughts of my book and procrastinating. And Glee.

I'm on the sequel of my outlined book. This time around I thought I'd make an outline before I even started. Last time, I started the outline fifty pages in. The great and not so great thing about outlines is that I get caught up in outlining and maybe spend oh, hours, staring at and tweaking my outline to make it all pretty and neat. Yes, I'll do just about anything to keep from sitting my butt down and doing the work (writing, that is). In fact, I spend so much time avoiding that I get lots of other stuff done--laundry, outlines, query letters, to name a few.

Well, this time I started with an outline, and I'm not sure if that's keeping me from wanting to write. I like the spontaneous approach. However, it is a useful tool in keeping me on track. I usually know major plot points, the ending (or how I envision the ending, though it often changes as I go). But having an outline has helped with pacing so far. I don't go off on random tangents as much, although some of my plotlines may seem that way. The downside is that sometimes I think the story seems too forced with an outline. Like I have to stick to it, so when I do go off on a tangent then the next chapter starts back on the outline and I wonder if it doesnt leave something to be desired continuity-wise. But, I'm sticking it out for this one at least.

Not sure if I'll stick with outlining for the future, but I can see how it helps keep things on track. Maybe I'll use it more for editing next time--make an outline after the book, check to make sure everything follows through, the plot points are in the right spots, etc.

Jury's still out on this one. I may always be a pantser.

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