Use a “Fat Outline” for Powerful Writing

FAT OUTLINE FINAL
Click to enlarge image.

Okay, everybody knows about outlines. I used the letters-and-numbers version above. Bureaucracies, of course, like the specificity of decimals, “Please refer to section 1.1.4.5.” MSWord will automatically format these for you, if it doesn’t drive you nuts in the process by refusing to do it any other way.

I also freely admit that I never start my writing with an outline. But like Dean Lappi in his IU article, To Outline or Not to Outline,  I always reach a stage in my project when I start an outline, because it’s impossible to keep it all straight in my head. My outlines in the past have been linear, like the left-hand column above.

We’re Always Improving

However, I have just learned about another kind of outline that has the potential to change my writing style for the better, so I’m sharing it with you. It’s called the Fat Outline. Continue reading “Use a “Fat Outline” for Powerful Writing”

No Wrong Way to Do It by Arline Chase

Someone responded to my blog on outlines, by emailing me to ask how I could write a story without knowing what was going to happen first?

That’s a good question. Well, I never have a detailed outline, or even a Triple-O. But I do know what the main character wants and usually what the general outcome will be. If I know that, I can sit down and write and the sub-conscious will take over and create the obstacles and bleak moment that shape the story.

If toward the end of the story, I find I need a “telling detail” to foreshadow something that happens later, I just go back and put that in. Continue reading “No Wrong Way to Do It by Arline Chase”

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