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Writers on Writing: Selected Quotations

OUTLINING

In fiction, there seems to be three schools of thought regarding outlining the plot before starting the novel or story. Some do not outline at all, others do a little outlining, and some spend a lot of time outlining before they begin the actual writing.


By writing an outline you really are writing in a way, because you’re creating the structure of what you’re going to do. Once I really know what I’m going to write, I don’t find the actual writing takes all that long. Tom Wolfe

You must outline your work. First, it teaches you to think your story through from beginning to end. That keeps you from throwing away 100 pages, and I don’t have that kind of time. Second, if you do make changes—and you will—then you know how the change will affect the outline, it gives you a blueprint. Terry Brooks

The danger of outlining is that, from the standpoint of writing, once you’ve outlined a lot of the fun is over. Michael Connelly

Another of my oddities (and this one I believe in absolutely) is that you never quite know where your story is until you have written the first draft of it. Raymond Chandler

I don’t plot. I don’t sit down and plot a book. It sort of unreels as I write. Nora Roberts

Sometimes, in a book, I may try to get a little scribble outline of one or two pages to get some sense that, yes, this will all come together. But rarely that, even. Lawrence Block

I rarely have a very clear idea of where I’m going when I start. Just people and a situation. Then I fool around—writing and rewriting until the stuff jells. James Thurber


This page was last updated on: Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com

								

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