Dramaquill's All Things Writing

March 1, 2012

Writing a Novel: Outline or Not?

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 1:15 PM
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Yesterday I finally had the pleasure of getting back to work on my second suspense novel, a sequel to my first book, “When Love Won’t Die”. It’s been quite a while since I looked at the project as a whole, rather than tweaking a couple of chapters to submit to my critique group.

I learned a lot from writing the first novel. This time, I had a general set of plot points and a series of events already in mind before I began Chapter One. I already knew my characters quite well as most of them made an appearance in the first book.

But this time, I decided to outline each prospective chapter before actually writing the entire story. This has certainly come in handy since I had to take a considerable hiatus from my indepth work on this project and the chapter by chapter outlines I have recorded in a notebook now remind me not only of the story’s direction but also how I want to interweave certain characters’ circumstances together and also the layers of sub-plots I intend to use in the sequel.

I’ve never really had a big problem just starting a story and letting it unfold as I write it but I believe that by doing the task of outlining first, every aspect of this second book will become stronger because I have taken the time to really think things through first. That doesn’t mean I’ll be rigid and unwilling to change things from my outline. It just means that I have a clearer direction this time.

Suspense novels need to have a build-up of tension to keep the reader interested, but more than that, each incidence must evolve out of something else and by doing an outline, I believe that the evolution in this sequel will be more believable and more exciting because of it.

Do you outline your novels? What are the Pros and Cons? Try answering this before you start work on your new book and see which side you end up on?

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