To Outline or Not to Outline?
Dorothy Parker wrote a single draft for all her pieces. Think about that. The level of focus and precision needed to pull that off is not human. For my first book, Mermaid, I wrote without an outline. It was a rambling mess and I hired a grad school editor to help me organize after a year. She suggested an outline and I scoffed. Outlines hindered creativity. Words need to pour out onto the page without a rigid structure. Writing is very tangent oriented, no need to stop a good idea. I argued with her and was actually a bit offended in the process. I knew my process the best. Then something occurred to me the other day walking my dog. Maybe an outline allows you to be more creative precisely because you have boundaries to push against.
If it had not been for Catholic school, I would not have thought it scandalous to listen to Pearl Jam, stand up for myself, or forget to say my prayers. The structure is there to focus and preserve intentions. I began drafting an outline that night. The outline is six pages so far. Each day I work on it hoping to start actually writing soon. It is an experiment for me to see which is better suited to my process. Gone are the days though, when I would just vomit on the page and clean it up later on. Until then, I will continue to write in the sand and hope something of mine will finally be published.
Do you outline?