Last night I found myself writing a pivotal scene in one of my stories. It was a scene that came to me on my drive home from work where one character showed so much vulnerability that even I was moved after re-reading it. I mean tears didn’t literally fall, but my heart did literally ache for them. Now you may be wondering what this has to do with writing without having an outline in mind.
It has a lot to do with it actually, since this scene was not a part of my original vision for this story. Originally the character mentioned above did not exist and had no place in my story’s arc. And even when they were conceived their part was to be minor. Nevertheless, somehow in time it became a major building block for not only the overall story, but for the main character as well. Changing the entire course of the book itself.
Which is why I love writing without a rigid outline. Yes, let me clarify that. I love writing without a RIGID outline. I mean some direction with a general plot is good and I always use those. But I find that having a set structure for my stories to be limiting. I hate laying things out such as saying this happens in this chapter and this happens in the next chapter, because it doesn’t allow the movement in storytelling that I love. The ability to change things up as go along because the plot calls for it or a character’s personality calls for it. I love that freedom and wouldn’t give it up for anything.
It’s why none of my stories are ever finished in their entirety even when I start my edits. I just write scenes and sew them together in the editing process. Sometimes adding entire chapters to merge two plot points together in order to bring my vision to life on the pages of my screen.
However I know some people do love writing with outlines because they like having that great sense of direction. So I would like to know how all my writer friends and followers feel about this. When you write, do you prefer to use a rigid outline, no outline, or a general outline and why?