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Friday, August 19, 2011

To Outline or Not to Outline?




I tend to use outlines when I'm insecure.

When I first started work on my book Ghost City, it was such a stop-and-go process. Write a paragraph...stop, look at outline...write...stop, look at outline. I HATED IT. So I deleted the outline and decided to just go with it, just like Hemingway and King.

So much better! I feel like I'm running! And I swear, the ideas are coming out so fast. The whole reason I used an outline was because I was afraid no ideas would come if I just "ran with it". That I'd get writer's block. That I'd get stuck. How wrong was I! The ideas are there, and not just that -- but better ideas. Ideas that are more in the flow of the story. I could hear my Left brain (that logical, mathematical, scientific side) complaining -- scared -- afraid of me running into some kind of problem.

Nope.

My Right brain (that wonderful, creative side), knows exactly what it's doing.

So here's what I'm doing now:

1. Write that first draft with my right brain -- just freewrite it. Get those ideas out. Write nonstop.

Then...

2. Use the power of the Left brain to do what it does best: EDIT.

Freewriting, automatic writing...it feels like I'm writing a lump of disfigured clay at first. A lump that the Left brain can mold into something great -- sculpt the vision -- the true vision.

Have trust in your Right brain -- your imagination, your creativity. I don't stop writing when working on that first draft now -- not even for misspellings. That FLOW when writing (the Zone) is so important. It must not be sabotaged.

You can always fix things later. And plus, just like Stephen King says, if that idea you had while writing was so amazing, it'll be there when you go back.

So just relax...and write!

PS: Over the years, I've been jumping back and forth between using outlines and not. Those books I didn't use an outline for are my favorites. They're just better stories. But that's just what I think ^_^


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