Fiction Outlines: How do you approach them?

Posted: July 25, 2011 in outline, style, Writing

This is for the fiction writers out there. If you’re an habitual outliner, I need your opinion. Do you approach it like a synopsis, or do you go commando with bullet style?

I’m a wordy person. My first book went through numerous revisions and whole blocks of chapters ended up in the wastebasket. I want to try a different approach with my second book. I’m three chapters into it and I’m just now embarking on an outline approach. But I chose the synopsis-style route, and to be honest, my first chapter outline is dangerously close to chapter length. And that’s with “tight” writing.

Comments appreciated!

  1. I write down the main points in the story that I am aiming towards (a big scene, an end point, a certain effect, etc.) and anything I might forget or that I want to keep in mind while writing. I try not to go beyond a page. Also, sometimes I write a character profile so if I stop writing I can slide back into the voice easier.I think what you should do depends on teh type of story you are writing. I usually know where I get off track or what things I forget, so I write down those things to keep me focused on a goal within the story. Then, as I'm writing, I know when I'm going off on a tangent or if something is not needed.


  2. Byron says:

    @jminspirations, Thanks! You sound far more organized than I do. I think laying out this outline will suit me better if I just bulletthe main plot points of each chapter. I like to leave room to expand a little, but I need to stay on point. This book has so much action and detail in the first three chapters, that a paragraph summary is too much. As for voice and character, I have them so ingrained in my head that I rarely lose them. Thanks for the input!


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