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Five thoughts on outlining

The quickest and easiest way to plan and build your story.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

When working on a new book, most writers are either Pantsers or Plotters: they write by the seat of their pants or plot out the story ahead of time with an outline.

While there are solid arguments for both, let's consider the process of outlining with these five links.

  1. Elizabeth Craig starts us off with the pros and cons of outlining: “I don't think outlining is an either/or proposition. I think there's room for a little middle ground.”
  2. If outlining is something that interests you, Reedsy has a great overview of the process and its many approaches: “Time invested in a story outline is foresight gained for your novel.”
  3. David Perell takes a different approach, using an island and bridges strategy: “Instead of starting with an outline, I started with a collection of intellectual islands knowing that I could bridge them eventually.”
  4. This is similar to Larissa Pham's approach where she uses visual touchstones to build her piece: “I’m like, 'Okay, well I’m going to use this piece and I’m going to use this piece...' Then I can work through the relationships of those things.”
  5. To finish us off, there is George R.R. Martin's idea of the gardener and the architect: “The architect plans everything in advance... The gardener may know the general shape...but still, he's digging a hole in the ground and planting a seed.”

Remember that pantsing versus plotting doesn't need to be an either/or statement. You can combine elements of both processes to grow and shape your story.

If you like what you've read here, leave a comment, share it with your writing friends and family, subscribe for free, or become a patron.

Want an excellent guide to building your outline? Try Novel Writing Prep by Monica Leonelle.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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