by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007
|Two types of writers in this world, outliners and intuitive!|
In the past year I’ve heard a lot of writer discussions, and passionate arguments, about whether to outline or not.
Some of you may be thinking, “Well that’s a no-brainer.” But is it? Those who have taught and argued that outlining is the best way to write range from beginning writers to editors to best-selling authors. The same is true for those who advocate in favor of intuitive writing.
There are two types of writers in this world. Those who map out their stories before they ever begin (outliners), and those who hear the voices (intuitive writers).
These tout the virtues of knowing the end of their story before they begin. Once they have their character profiles fleshed out and their plots clearly defined, the hard work is done. They can start spinning their stories as dictated by the outlines. They claim that this method calls for fewer rewrites.
These writers start with story ideas that may not have clear plots, or even clear endings. They could use outlines for clarity, but feel that doing so would restrict flexibility. These writers dialogue with their characters and adjust their stories based on conversations. Their first drafts are essentially an exercise in free-flowing word association, which becomes their outlines for the rewrites.
Whenever I try to outline, I find myself asking “what if” questions that force me to create a whole new outline—or at least modify the one I’ve started. Also, my stories come to me in scenes that aren’t necessarily chronological, complicating the outline process. These challenges usually stifle my creativity, and frustrate me to the point of giving up.
So which process is best?
Personal experience and my interactions with agents, editors and other writers have led me to the conclusion that both are good. It’s like when my wife and I travel. She prefers to know where we are going and where we’ll spend each night before we start. I prefer allowing our journey to determine our destination and accommodations.
In other words, it’s not the method but the writer’s personality that will determine whether outlining or intuitive writing is best.
Both methods have their merits and challenges. If you tend to think in terms of “First there’s A, then B followed by C, you’ll probably do your best work by outlining. If, like me, you’re often chatting with your characters and your stories don’t come in a linear flow, then the intuitive approach is probably your best option. But that’s just my opinion.
So which method do you prefer? Why?
Don't forget to join the conversation!
To Outline or Not to Outline - @BruceDBrady weighs in on this #writing debate on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
So which process is best for #writers—outlining or not? @BruceDBrady shares his thoughts on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.
Connect with Bruce on his blog, The Write Voyage, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.