Outline or not to Outline

Outlining has been a big question in my mind. I did not outline my first Manuscript, The Legend of the Swamp Witch, but had the story in my head for so long that seat of the pants writing seamed to work for me and I had the first draft finished in 60 days. Unfortunately, my writing coach, when he read it, referred to it as a mind dump. When I sat down to begin my new project, which I hope will be a three book series, I thought perhaps I should give outlining a try. I sat down and outlined the complete first book, did character studies of all my major characters, then began writing. I got about 250 pages in, when someone hacked into my machine and deleted my entire file! I was devastated, but realized it gave me the opportunity to fix some mistakes and make some additions. I went back to my outline and made some notes. Then I did some more reading and spoke with my writing coach who recommended I read Randy Ingermanson’s book about the Snowflake method of outlining. I found it very intriguing. It is sort of organized seat of the pants writing. Start with one sentence that describes your book, then a five sentence paragraph, expanding on that sentence, then a two paragraph page expanding on the paragraph. Then you write a synopsis. You just keep building on your basic sentence, developing story and characters. I am trying it for this book.

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