During my original run of outline posts over at Wyrdsmiths, my friend and fellow author Lyda Morehouse brought up something that I felt was quite important
Lyda said. “It might not matter what you call it, but when I first started writing novels I felt I HAD to outline like that and it pretty much scared the crap out of me.”
This is the most important thing to know about outlines:
If outlines don’t work for you, or if you need to call them something else, or construct them in a different way—say as clusters of words on a whiteboard, do that. There are a 1,001 ways to write a novel, every one of them right. If something works for you, do it. If not, don’t let anyone tell you that it should. Move on and find something that does work. Everything we say here is meant by way of suggesting things that may help, not as laying out the one true path to novel success.
Lyda does things in her process that would drive me over the edge and vice-versa and yet both methods produce novels that sell. The only thing that really matters processwise is that you write and that you finish at least some of what you write.
(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog March 30 2007, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)