I’ve mentioned before that I’m a discovery writer. Actually, I consider myself a modified discovery writer. Modified because I did once manage to write 100,000 words that didn’t come out to be a story. (I’m embarrassed to admit how many tries it took me to figure out why it wasn’t a story and fix it.) So, now I like to have at least a few stops along the way to my destination.
I’ve heard the idea floated that even those of us who claim to write by the seat of our pants are actually outlining; we’re just doing it in our heads instead of on paper. I think there’s something to that. Of course, if we’re holding the outline in our heads, it’s not as detailed or extensive as some of those written out. And it’s also more subject to change. That’s just the nature of the two methods.
I tried outlining a couple of times early on. Once, I spent way too much time revising the outline–time I could have been spending on writing the story. The other time, I wrote the outline and then never looked at it again. I think the story diverged from the outline in the first five chapters and never came back again. I haven’t made a serious attempt at outlining since.
However, every story is different. And even I–confirmed discovery writer that I am–am starting to think about outlining. I’m still only on chapter 7 of my “Weird Oz Story” and that’s partly because the story is just developing that slowly in my head.
So, maybe it’s time to drop back and punt. Open that copy of David Farland’s MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES on my kindle, and try a different method. Maybe this is a story I need to outline. Learning a different way is always good, even if I never use it again.