The Art of Fiction: Outline Your Novel, or Don’t…Or, Yeah, Maybe

In class, the subject always comes up: should you outline your story, or not? That is, should you make a road map for your novel, one that you will follow like a disciple, from page one to the climax, three hundred pages later? Or, will you dare to step off the outline, if the story is going a different way than what you planned?

Outlines are dicey. They can help you move from one scene to another, and create a semblance of order. But they can also cause an aesthetic train wreck if you’re not careful. It depends on how comfortable you feel, dwelling in chaos, and how much you think you need to be in control. This is also a good question for living.

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