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How To Outline By the Seat of Your Pants

July 23, 2017

A Writer's Path

by Stephanie O’Brien

When you start to create a novel, one of the first questions you have to ask yourself is, “Should I start by creating an outline, or just fly by the seat of my pants?”

Both of these options have their merits.As I noted in a previous blog post, creating an outline first helps to keep the plot more coherent, avoid plot holes, and stop writer’s block before it starts.

But many writers probably share the same fear I had before I started to embrace outlining: what if the outline stifles my creativity? What if I lose the spontaneity that I need to write the characters naturally, and to let the characters be themselves?

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  1. I have done both – outlining and just writing. I think I prefer writing scenes and shuffling them as I write.

    • I do a rough outline, but like you – I prefer writing the scenes and changing things as needed. I took a James Patterson course and he does an in-depth outline. That took as long to work out as writing the entire book!

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