Outlining while Being a Panster

I am a natural panster, I just write and see where the story takes me. I love not necessarily knowing what will become of my characters. I have found the need to outline more and it goes against my natural inclination to just write. I never imagined it would be this hard. Going with the flow takes little effort sitting down to outline is so tough. I have figured out some way to help me get through the grueling task (grueling for me anyway).

There are a ton of ready-made templates you can use for free online. I have found that by using one it makes it easier to get my thought on paper. I have a visual to guide me instead of staring at a blank page. I have always been the type of person that if something doesn’t come naturally I need some direction. Having a template that already has things broken down in chunks gets me moving.  There are a ton of options available to use. 

Every author I have spoken with that outlines says they plot every bit of their novel. Characters, locations, geography, every small detail. Most of the time I try to do this I find I only give myself a head, plus keeping up with all that information is a nuisance sometimes. If I find outlining the entire thing is too much I will only do one part of my story. Maybe it’s my characters or part of the plot itself. Whatever I choose it still helpful without being overwhelming. Try this next time and see if it helps you.

You can find many articles and interviews where authors talk about how they outline. Look up your favorites and see how they do it. I have gotten many ideas from reading how Stephen King or JK Rowling outline all their novels. It brings about a new perspective and many times there are things I never thought of.  I have come up with many outlining ideas by doing this. 

Get with someone who supports you and talk out your plot. Bouncing ideas off of someone else can be a huge help and they may have ideas you never thought of.  Having someone that’s not close to the story is beneficial because they can look at it from a readers point of view and will tell you what they’d like to read in that particular situation. If you don’t have anyone you know that you can do that with find a critique group and share with them.  You’ll be amazed by the ways talking to someone can help you! 

If you tried all the things above and still feel like outlining is more of a pain then it worth. Don’t outline! There are times when my natural habit of just writing wins no matter how hard I try. I usually only outline when I’m absolutely stuck or writing for NanoWriMo (this is challenge done once a year in November. Authors try to write a novel in 30 days.)  Sometimes it doesn’t work out despite my best efforts. It’s okay not to outline even if you feel like  you need to. If writing without one is more your style just write! Many people say outlining is a must to write, I say it’s only a must if you need an outline! Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to outline if you do better without one!

Get out there and write outline or no outline! Good luck! 

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