Outline Shmoutline

Don’t get me wrong. I admire writers who outline and stick to it. I’ve never been that way. While I definitely have plot points I work towards, the discovery process is amazing.

For example, in my WIP, a chapter one throwaway character just resurfaced in chapter eight completely by surprise. She’s fun, complex and throws an interesting wrench into the works that I hadn’t considered before.

Discovery ho!

Perhaps a rigid outliner won’t have as much rewriting to do at the end of the first draft, and that’s a plus, but so many things in a discoverer’s (I don’t like the word pantser) process allows for organic growth and delightful surprises. I’d been concerned that a character is too good, and with another throwaway line, I discover his flaw, and how it will engender more flaws.

I admit, I do this all wrong.

  • I dove straight into writing with the barest research and pre-planning in writing.
  • I had an idea of the genre and sub-genre (historical speculative fiction), but it may evolve away from that.
  • I have no planned length (it’s at 110 pages and the first act hasn’t ended yet),
  • It’s for young adults, but I’m using short sentences that I may have to make more complex in the rewrite.
  • My characters are evolving past my expectations.

Yet… that’s all what makes writing fun. On the bright side, I’m writing a lot faster than normal. That helps.

For you outliners, what do you consider the strengths? How rigid are you? Do you ever throw out your outline, or if there are changes, to you rework the outline? Give us your process!