Anonymous asked on Tumblr:
Hi there :) I was just wondering, do you outline or do you think it's not necessary? I hear so many opinions lately, I'm confused.

I outline. 

Actually, it’s one of the most fun aspects of writing, for me. I do a lot of plotting and brainstorming in my head, playing around with ideas even before I start writing down a rough plot-line for my novel. Then, as I start writing the first chapters. and the story begins to take shape, I outline in even more detail the rest of them.

So you could say I outline as I go. 

The main reason I write is that things, ideas and people become much clearer to me once I put pen to paper. It’s been this way since I was a kid, and I started keeping a journal in order to make sense of the things that were happening to me. A few years later, that turned into writing entire worlds and setting stories in them.

My point is, the characters and their situations become so much more real once you start writing. It’s only then you can fully outline your novel. And that, too, is subject to change.

But if you read a book that seems to you pointless and as though the plot is going nowhere… or even is inexistent -well, then you know. This book was written without an outline. Don’t do it. Don’t work without an outline. You won’t know what to write next, and you’ll write the first thing that pops into your head, which will be either not well enough thought-out, mundane, boring, or, worse, something you just read or saw somewhere. An imitation.

You need to surprise your reader and chances are, the first thing that popped into your head as you were writing popped into theirs as they were reading.

Original ideas take time, they take intention. Write your story with intention.

The outline is not limiting you. On the contrary. It’s like being a physicist: you know the laws the universe works by, so you can play around with them. You can test new things, discover new worlds. But a first grader can’t do what Albert Einstein did. Why? Because he doesn’t know even the most basic laws of nature. He doesn’t know how this world works.

Your story is a world. Set down the rules of it.

The outline contains the laws of your story. Within them, you create.

One more thing, more important than I can say: know the ending of your story, even before you begin thinking of characters and plot. What is everything leading up to? The ending will set the tone of your novel. Will it be fun? Dramatic? Tragic? Will it be the actual end of something or the beginning? 

Never never never start writing unless you know the end. 

Hope this helps a bit. It’s my personal experience, so take it as that. x

Ask me anything.

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