craft, the

The Question – Outline or Not to Outline

I just finished How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and I thought I’d discuss outlining.

Now, I outline. I need a map. It’s usually a chapter by chapter sketch of the POV, general setting, and what I want the chapter to accomplish. Usually, I have the first 1/4 and the last 1/4 of the book outlined in my head. It’s always the middle 1/2 where I have trouble. It comes eventually, though.

Not everyone outlines. Kathy Emerson outlines as she goes. Benjamin Leroy, founder of Tyrus Books, consideres himself a ‘pantser‘. Meaning he says to ‘hell with it’ and simply writes what flows from his fingers. I admire the writer who does this. My brain simply doesn’t work that way.

The outline of He’ll Bring You All Down (my new YA novel) is about 3/4 complete with about 1/4 written. There’s still some kinks I have to work out in the first draft, but I’m getting there.

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