This post is not for the perfectionists at heart. If you need schedules, index cards, and a boat load of research before you can start writing, this post is not for you. I wouldn’t want you to waste your time shaking your head at my oddities so be free my wonderful visitor, be free.
If you’ve made it to this paragraph you’re either skeptical of my warning or you are curious. I’ll take both and proceed right along. This post is about my hate for outlines. Growing up, every teacher has tried to force outlining down my throat.
If you had to do an essay, you figured out the topic (unless you were given one) and then you narrowed it down. Once you narrowed it down from African Animals to Bengal Tigers, you then jot down what you knew and got started with the research process. For me, research was hours of dewey decimal numbers and skimming book spines in the library. Thank heavens the online Britannica came out and then, yes people, the internet was born. They saved me from dust induced asthma attacks.
Okay, we have our research and a sound essay topic. Time to outline! Right? Right? Wrong. I jumped to writing and you know what? I got an A every time so I dumped the notion of outlines in the garbage and never looked back.
Fast forward to July 21, 2014.
Oh my gosh, how stupid was I to think outlines wouldn’t be useful?
I went into Camp NaNo thinking I’d get 10,000 words done in no time. All I had to do was write one prompt at a time. I’ve been doing it all year, what else would I need to do but write? If you’re shaking your head or laughing at me, pat yourself on the back. You caught my stupidity before I did.
I should have outlined each prompt instead of ramming my head against the Writer’s Block. And those Plot Bunnies? They’re evil buggers. Don’t trust them, ever. If they say they’ll be there for you till the end, call them on it, or better yet, toss an outline at them. It’s a contract between you and your imagination that basically states this story will happen.
So, now that I know I need to outline, will I? Probably not. Outlines are straight jackets and I rather like my freedom, thank you very much. I will try to be better at getting a clear ending in mind before charging in though. That shouldn’t be too hard….I think.
At least it’ll be a challenge.
What do you think about outlines? Are they a necessary evil?