This question, or should I say topic? I guess it depends on your writing and the role in which you hold during the writing process. I was the kid in high school that had the entire paper written in order to submit the outline. In the past, the outline was supposed to be first and used as a guide to write the paper. My brain didn't work that way, and it still has limitations with this theory. Yup, I called outlining a theory and not a step in the writing process.
There are editors reading this with their comments ready to go. Outlining helps to organize your thoughts, so your paper or book has a solid beginning, middle, and end. I remember sitting down to write an outline and crying because I couldn't figure out where to start BUT if I looked at my notes and sources, I could easily draft a paper. My mom and aunts, with their wisdom, told me to "write the paper then make an outline". Phew, they saved many a tissue from their destruction at meltdown for trying to force my brain to write and think in this organized, black, and white formula.
I wrote the first draft of Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey in three days. It was perfect and ready for publication...NOT TRUE! Actually, my first draft was terrible, disorganized, vomit, drafting, and many other negative adjectives. It took almost two years, two editors, and a lot of time to transition it from the ramblings of a grieved sister into the book of hope and inspiration it's become for my readers. Why do I share this? For this reason...I used this seventy-sixish pages of garbage to develop my outline and write a book worth reading.
As I look forward to finish and publish my next book, I'm contemplating developing an outline first! Yikes!! Yup, I'm stepping out...maybe. As I pray about the direction of this next book, I seek your input. What are your thoughts on outlining? Please comment!!
If you write an outline,
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323