On another topic, I know there are various opinions just among the five of us on the benefits of writers’ groups, or critique groups, whatever you want to call them. I work with one, and it helps me most of the time. We met yesterday, which brings me to a question for other writers who may have dropped by for a visit.
Do you use an outline before you begin a novel? Some of us on this blog share the same editor (not all of us, though), and she requires an outline of her established authors before we submit the entire manuscript. Then she wants the first hundred pages. I find the directive useful because my plots have a tendency to get complicated. The outline, from which our editor seems to expect us to deviate, serves as a road map. If I wander, I can find my way back.
I’ve talked to writers who don’t outline at all and others who make 200 page outlines. Mine run 15-20 pages. I do NOT use the format we all learned in elementary school (if you’re as old as I am, that is). I’m referring to the Roman Numeral, A, B, C, 1, 2, 3, stuff. That’s just too anal-retentive for me. If I did that, I’d have to obsess more about the shape of the outline than the shape of the book. But I do try to think in terms of a “Three Part Structure,” plot points, the villain’s and protagonist’s motives and commitments. The outline helps me do this. How about the rest of you?
A parting thought—our guest blogger this Sunday is Don Bruns, author of two series and two anthologies. His latest in his