Outlining Is Outlining

Outlining varies from writer to writer.

Some do it, some do not.

Some go into extraordinary detail that fills up several notebooks. Others get by with just a summary.

Some use the exact same outline for every story. Others tweak it with each story.

My process usually involves dumping all the ideas, the settings, the characters, etc.

Then comes the process of trying to organize it into a coherent plot.


Heh. Heh. What even is organization.


My outlines usually do start out somewhat organized.

Premise, list of characters, the time period, the main settings…sometimes short character bios too.

And then…plop goes the first brain dump. Pretty soon, the notebook is full (though not completely) of ideas of the many directions the story could go. Sometimes, characters are renamed, made younger or older, the time period is shifted, some characters get merged together, some have their physical appearance changed…

Then comes the Camp NaNos and the big NaNo.

I pick a project and try to form a coherent plot out of the multiple brain dumps sitting in the notebook. (If I even have a notebook for the project I pick; not all of them have an outlining notebook…yet)

Last year, for Camp NaNo April, I picked Take My Hand, one of the Matthews stories.

I decided to plot out the story from the ending. Then I did it again, starting from the beginning, and then I proceeded to write out the scenes on index cards under one of the eight sections of the story they belonged to.

And it worked!

But for Camp NaNo July?


The big NaNo in November?

Also 💥.

This year for Camp April?

Ehhh…I didn’t do the index card thing, but I did write out a tiny outline.

Still didn’t finish. The story isn’t even complete. It has a beginning and an end, but the middle needs help. Unfinished chapters and whatnot.

Now, what is the point of this post?

The point…is that whether you go into extensive detail when you plan out your story, or whether you get by with only a few sentences that don’t even connect, outlining is outlining.

Even if you never ever write down any of it and just pants the whole thing, you still thought of what would happen next in the story as you wrote, right? Thus, you technically outlined in your head.

Outlining is outlining, and every writer does it differently.

Tell me your thoughts below! How do you outline?

One thought on “Outlining Is Outlining

  1. Vewy twue *nods* I’m the kind who can (so far) get by anyway. I head outlined a few novels and in another, I made an extensive chapter-by-chapter summary. But usually, those head outlined novels turn into actual outlines for the real ones.

    So who knows how my madness will go?

    Liked by 1 person

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