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O is for Outlining (A-Z challenge)

Outlining isn’t necessary for writers, but there are many advantages to it. Even pantsters should give it a go.

I outlined my first novel Denai Touch, but I didn’t outline my second novel Denai Bound. This often led me to get writers block or not like the direction the story was going in.

Even just having a basic outline can be helpful for any writer before they start planning your novel.

Outlines can be anything from detailed descriptions about worlds, places and character profiles to having a description about each chapter.

But it doesn’t mean you have to put in every detail or plan out every single thing that happens in your story.

It can be helpful to have a map to help you navigate and finish your first draft.

Here are five tips for outlining your novel before you start writing:

  1. There is less of a chance of writer’s block. Getting stuck in a rut or losing the plot can be annoying when you’re trying to finish your first draft. Having an outline to go back to can keep your novel on course and hopefully keep the dreaded writer’s block away.
  2. You can reduce the amount of time spent on editing and rewriting. Outlining is similar to a first draft. If you have a plan for your book, you will have already written one rough draft before you start on the manuscript. You will also be able to write more quickly because you having an outline.
  3. You will be more focused. By having an outline you will have a guide to go by instead of wondering what to write next.
  4. It will improve your creativity. By thinking everything through and planning out your story you will be starting the creative process. Even if you write the first draft without referring to your outline, you will know what direction your stories heading in.
  5. It can help you to know your characters better. By writing outlines of your characters this allows you to know them better and know what motivates them.

Photo by Steve Snodgrass

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