Outline or no outline?

To outline or not to outline, that is the question.

I’ve been trying to work on an outline with my alternate-universe story idea, to no avail.  So, I think I will put that one on the back burner for now and work on another story idea.  It’s a fantasy story (possible trilogy?) dealing with magic and dragons (no, not a ripoff of Game of Thrones, although I have it on the brain lately due to watching season 4).  It’s an older story idea, so I think I have a better grasp on where I want the story to go.

I’ve decided to forgo an outline for now.  I’ve written down a few major plot points and plunged ahead and started writing.  I think this will benefit me more in the long run.  Because if I decide to outline everything first, it will just make me procrastinate the writing.  I will just sort of do the outline as I go.  I’m hoping that as I write, the plot points will come to me.  I’ve pretty much gotten the first scene written, so that’s some progress at least.  It introduces my main character, a sixteen year old girl (Aideen), and the woman who raised her (Mina, I think?  I’m not certain about her name yet).  They both have magical ability and that’s not looked upon favorably in this world, so they live alone out in the woods far from any town.  The working title is “Daughter of Fire”.

So, I’m curious, if any of you are writers, what is your process?  Do you outline (fully or partially) or are you a total “pantser”?

Anyway, that’s it for now.  I have some laundry to do now, so I will probably do some more writing later this evening.  Wish me luck!

Current writing goals:

  • This week:  Get first chapter written – Progress:  Have written first scene of first chapter (512 words)
  • End of this month:  Write at least 5 chapters (estimated: 12,500 words)

Currently reading:

  •  The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson




6 responses to “Outline or no outline?

  1. I have to plot and outline otherwise I just get hung up on character interactions and then my plot doesn’t move forward. I get lost. It’s a boring and arduous task, but I’m also highly motivated. I think you have to do what works best for you and leads to your best work 🙂 Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I haven’t completed a story before, I’m not sure what works best for me yet. I really wanted to write a whole outline this time, but just could not work out a whole plot. Maybe I’m just being impatient, I don’t know. But I do know that sitting here staring at the screen trying to think of a plot is not working for me so far. 🙂 Even if this story sucks and doesn’t go anywhere but my computer’s hard drive, I think it will definitely help me to get something completed. Thanks for reading!


  2. I’ve killed a story or two trying to outline completely before I start writing, so this time I just jumped in. Now I’m 50,000 words in and taking a break because I’ve gotten lost. I’m going to go back and outline what I’ve already done and then outline my way to the end. Paige Randall and I have decided this is called “spiral writing” and that its a totally legitimate way to write! 🙂 -Ella

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’ve tried it both ways myself. I’ve sat down and started writing not knowing much about the story at all and that didn’t work, and I’ve tried to do an outline first and that didn’t work. So, I’m hoping that the outlining as I go method works for me. It sounds like it’s working for you. 🙂


  3. Most of the writing I’ve done without outlining. This helps me focus more on building the world and characters in the manuscript itself, and I can make notes off to the side on things that come up in the story. However, I found in the case of one series I started that I needed some more solid plot points before going further, so I outlined 2 books and a little into the third. This particular series was sci-fi, while I’m much more used to writing fantasy, so the outline helped.


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