Outlining Your Fiction Novel

To Outline, or Not to Outline

One question that has come up repeatedly in various creative writing settings, involves whether to outline fiction novels. It seems the consensus, at least among those I’ve talked with, has been not to outline since it can inhibit your creativity.

When I started writing my first novel, I developed a great outline. But then I found that as the plot progressed, I would need to go back and change the outline. Of course, my story and characters were always evolving, and so was the outline. I found myself constantly questioning whether I should ‘stick to the plan’ or eliminate the structure.

The main challenge in trying to stick to an outline is wasted effort. I would frequently get frustrated finding myself on a path that wasn’t in alignment with the original outline.

So what did I do? In the end, I did away with the outline and just relied on free style creative ability. And it worked much better. It was especially surprising for me because I am a very organized individual and always feel like I must maintain control. But when it comes to creativity, sometimes you have to throw that control out the window.

If your thought processes are uninhibited by planning and structure, then your creative juices have a tendency to flow much more freely.

What works best for you? Let me know your thoughts!

Lori Hines, Author

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