To Outline or Not to Outline

reasons to create an outline for your book

To outline or not to outline, this is an important question for writers.

Should writers write books by following an outline? This seems to be a great debate among writers. Some writers swear by using outlines and others would rather fly by the seat of their pants.

I prefer to make and use an outline when I am writing my books. I like to form a basic outline that lays out the gist of what the book will be about and the character’s names and personalities. I also prefer to lay out the basics of each chapter. 

I do feel that if the outline contains too much information, meaning too many details, it will constrict the writer. We still need to have the freedom to add characters and events as we see fit. Often times if an outline contains too many details, it prevents us from being able to be creative with our book.

Let’s compare the two options. Reasons to outline:

  1. Gives us direction
  2. Helps us glide through writing the chapters
  3. Gives us a goal
  4. Helps us remember character names and details (we can refer back to our written outline)
  5. Keeps us on track

Reasons not to outline:

  1. I can’t think of any
  2. I don’t know
  3. Oh, here is one: I still don’t know.

The bottom line is I recommend a simple outline. They are helpful to me and I think it would be helpful to you as well. Let me give you an example of what an outline can consist of:

  • Basic details of the book (What it is about, the character details)
  • Certain points you want to be sure to touch upon
  • Chapter titles (this will guide you what to write in each chapter) 
  • Other details you want to include

Details you may not want to include in the outline:
Every detail as to what the character says, does, and feels.

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7 responses to “To Outline or Not to Outline”

  1. I’m just starting to explore creative writing … a basic outline jumped into my head. This is helpful in giving me some ideas as to what I should include/consider

    Thank you


    1. Thank you! I am happy you found it helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

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