The Importance of an Outline Part 1

Although not everyone will agree with using an outline on a writing project I happen to find them to be very useful. Outlines do not exist for you to force yourself to follow exactly. It is used as a guide. I outline everything prior to beginning a writing project. It makes writing easier because you know exactly what parts of your book you need to get done and it keeps you motivated by allowing you to see your progression throughout your writing process.

The outline also helped me when I started getting frustrated and feeling stuck during the writing process. It also helped me to determine the relevance in what I was writing and if I wanted to continue heading in that direction, change what I was writing about, or rather or not I had enough material.

There were moments in my writing projects where I got so wrapped up in my emotions as I wrote, that I completely went off course from the focus of my project and into a ranting freenzy. I didn’t realize how far I strayed until I went back to my outline and looked at what inspired me to write this particular book to begin with. At that point I had two option

  1. I could change the overall concept of the book

  2. I could get back on course and use everything I wrote in a different project

Well… I chose option number 2. Once I realigned my focus I began to write again I was immediately flooded with even more things to write on a deeper level. Once I regained my focus my first step was to set the scene of the story. In order to do so I planned out the specifics behind the story I was telling. I began by setting the scene with these series of questions:

  • What is the point of this scene?

  • Are you settign the scene up for something major to take place? or are you just describing what something looks like?

  • Where does the story take place?

  • What does the scenery look like?

  • What is the most important piece of information that needs to be revealed in this scene?

Only you and the course of your narrative can decide which kinds of imagery will work best for each scene, and choosing the right imagery often takes some experimentation. You don't always like the first thing you come up with.